By Mike Harrington
TAMPA, Fla. -- Cory Conacher never got to play in an NCAA Tournament game in his first years at Canisius but the Tampa Bay Lightning rookie is thrilled some of his former mates are going to get that chance Saturday against No. 1 seed Quinnipiac after the Griffs surprising run to the Atlantic Hockey championship last weekend.
"It's going to be a lot of fun to watch them again," Conacher told me today after the Lightning's morning skate. "I've watched Quinnipiac too this year ... and they have a chance at beating them as long as they stick to the game and the goalie (Tony Capobianco) is hot. Their goalie has been hot all year. Hopefully he can continue to be hot and they can put a little run together like RIT* did."
(*RIT, remember, was one of the most surprising Frozen Four teams of all time when it played in the 2010 event in Detroit.).
As you would expect, Conacher's favorite part of the Canisius run was its semifinal victory over archrival Niagara.
"That was impressive," he said. "Niagara is a great team. They're in the tournament too because of the way they've played this year. That was very impressive. It was awesome to see them beat the Purple. We always have a huge rivalry against Niagara right across the [Grand Island] bridge and it was nice to get that win there."