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UB will unveil new black helmet and don all black for Baylor game Sept. 12

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By Mark Gaughan

The University at Buffalo will unveil a new black helmet to go along with black pants and black jerseys, for its Sept. 12 home game against Baylor.

The 8 p.m. game at UB Stadium will be televised nationally on ESPN. UB is promoting the game as a "blackout" and encouraging fans to wear black.

Baylor is a preaseason top 10 team and is led by quarterback Bryce Petty, a Heisman Trophy candidate. The Bears beat UB, 70-13, last season en route to an 11-2 season. The Bears closed the season with a 52-42 Fiesta Bowl loss to Central Florida.

The black helmet and jersey will be UB's "alternate" outfit, and the team probably will pull it out for another game later in the season.

Ryan Rashid signs with Elmira

by Amy Moritz

Ryan Rashid is headed back to Elmira.

The Niagara University forward signed with the Jackals last year after the Purple Eagles ended their run in the Atlantic Hockey semifinals.

The club announced Tuesday that Rashid had signed a Standard Player Contract for the upcoming season.

Rashid had two goals and two assists in six games with Elmira last year. He completed his collegiate career at Niagara with 88 points (38 goals, 50 assists) in 142 games.

Elmira is the ECHL affiliate for the Rochester Americans and Buffalo Sabres.

"Ryan is a talented young man with an impressive blend of size and speed," Jackals head coach Jamie Russell said in the team's press release. "He plays with hunger and passion, which are two core attributes that we require of our men. Ryan had a very strong ECHL debut last season. We anticipate that he will develop into one of the league's top forwards this season."

 

 

Former Griffs Gibbons and Bohrer sign pro hockey contracts

by Amy Moritz

Two more members of the recently graduated Canisius class signed professional hockey deals this week.

Kyle Gibbons signed with the Idaho Steelheads of the East Coast Hockey League while Ryan Bohrer signed with TSV Peissenberg, a team in Germany.

Gibbons played with the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL after the Griffs lost in the Atlantic Hockey championship game to Robert Morris. He finished his Canisius career ranked fourth in points in the program's Division I era (130) while his 57 career goals are second only to Cory Conacher.

He had one of the most successful collegiate careers for the Ice Griffs and was named the Atlantic Hockey Tournament MVP when Canisius captured its first title in 2013.

Alumni bragging rights will be on the line when Idaho opens its season Oct. 17 at Utah as Vinny Scarsella plans to return to the Grizzlies where he scored 13 goals with 26 assists last season.

Also in the ECHL next year is Taylor Law. The forward singed with the Indy Fuel last month.

Bohrer was the captain for the Golden Griffins last year. In 138 career games with the Ice Griffs, he finished with 33 points (13 goals, 20 assists). 

He is the second Canisius player from the Class of 2014 to sign internationally. Ben Danford, one of the best defenseman in program history, will play for Strasbourg in France.

 

Panas named MAAC Male Student-Athlete of the Year

by Amy Moritz

Clear some more space on the trophy shelf for Connor Panas.

The junior baseball standout from Canisius College was named the Male Student-Athlete of the Year from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, which was announced today.

He is the second baseball player from Canisius to win the award in the last four years. Sean Jamieson was the MAAC Male Student-Athlete of the Year in 2011.

“I am extremely proud of Connor's achievement,” coach Mike McRae said in a press release from the school. “This award epitomizes the marriage of athletics and academics. Connor’s passion and drive has enabled him to be extremely successful on and off the field. The MAAC has rewarded a very deserving young man.”

Panas ranked first in the MAAC in home runs (six), runs batted in (51) and slugging percentage (.574). His 16 doubles ranked second and his .362 batting average was third. He has career-best 15-game hitting streak and led the Golden Griffins with 22 multi-hit games and 13 multi-RBI games.

He helped anchor a Canisius team that went 40-16 and won the MAAC regular season title.

His production earned him a number of accolades this season. Among them: Louisville Slugger Second-Team All-American, Capital One Academic Second-Team All-American, ABCA Third-Team All-American and MAAC Player of the Year.

Panas, a physical education major, holds a 3.77 grade point average.

UB Women to Face Duke

Kentucky for the men. Duke for the women. UB basketball will head into the 2014-15 season with a “take-on-all-comers” approach.

The UB women released their non-conference schedule today and it includes a Nov. 25 game at Duke, a traditional top-10 team that finished 13th in the season-ending coaches poll.  Call it a “Whiteout.” UB athletic director Danny White is the son of Duke AD Kevin White.

UB will depart Duke and head for Miami to take part in the Hurricanes’ four-team holiday tournament on Nov. 28 and 29. The other entries in the field have yet to be announced. Miami, like Duke an ACC program, went 16-15 last season.

The UB men already announced non-conference games at Kentucky on Nov. 16 and Wisconsin on Dec. 28. The Wildcats were national runners-up last season while Wisconsin lost to Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament semifinals.

Other non-conference dates for the UB women:

Nov. 8 vs. Buffalo State (exh), 14 vs. Siena, 18 at St. Francis (Pa.), 22 vs. Niagara, Dec. 4 at Cornell, 15 vs. St. Bonaventure, 19 at Manhattan, 21 at LIU, 29 at Canisius.

 

 

Bonnies to Face Pitt on Road

St. Bonaventure today became the second Big 4 team to release its upcoming non-conference basketball schedule and, as was the case with UB, there's a national presence on the slate.

The Bonnies will play at Pitt of the ACC on Dec. 13 in the first meeting between the schools since the 2001 NIT. The Panthers return three starters from the 26-10 team that reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament before being ousted by Florida.

UB previously announced road games against Kentucky and Wisconsin, ranked Nos. 2 and 4 in last season's final coaches poll.

Here are the non-conference schedules for the Bonnies and the Bulls.

BONA

Nov. 8 vs. Mansfield (exb), 15 vs. Dartmouth, 19 vs. Siena, 22 vs. Canisius, 29 at Niagara (Big 4 Classic at FNC). December: 3 vs UB, 6 at Ohio, 13 at Pitt, 20 at Binghamton, 22 at Maryland-Eastern Shore, 30 at Delaware.

UB

Nov. 6 vs. Wheeling Jesuit (exb), 14 vs South Dakota State, 16 at Kentucky, 18 at Texas-Arlington, 21 vs. Montana St., 25 vs. Grand Canyon, 29 at Canisius (Big 4 Classic at FNC). Dec. 3 at Bona, 7 at Robert Morris, 16 vs. Drexel, 19 vs. Niagara, 28 at Wisconsin, 30 at Binghamton. Jan. 3 vs. Cornell.

 

Tributes on Twitter for retiring Canisius softball legend Mike Rappl

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(from www.gogriffs.com)

by Amy Moritz

The tributes are beginning on social media after legendary Canisius College softball coach Mike Rappl announced his retirement on Monday. Rappl retired after being the only head coach in the 35 year history of the Golden Griffins' softball program.

 

Big 4 doubleheader set for Nov. 29 at FNC: UB-Canisius & Niagara-Bona

By Bob DiCesare

All four Big 4 teams. In one place. At one time.

Finally.

The four local Division I programs will meet in a true doubleheader for the first time since 1998 in an afternoon twinbill at the First Niagara Center on Saturday Nov. 29. Niagara and St. Bona will open at 2 p.m., followed by Canisius and UB at 4:15.

"We are excited to be able to bring a true Big 4 doubleheader to First Niagara Center," Canisius AD Bill Maher said in a release. "Setting up an event like this takes a lot of cooperation and coordination between all four schools and First Niagara Center. With four strong fan bases and alumni groups locally, and the fact that this year's event falls on the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, we believe this will be a must-see event for sports fans across Western New York."

What's the potential? A Big 4 doubleheader at the FNC on Nov. 30, 1996, drew 12,508.

Big 4 doubleheaders went by the wayside as the schools, members of three different conferences, pursued their own agendas motivated by maximizing home dates and revenues. However, it stood to reason that it was in their common interest to combine forces one day a year to maximize exposure for all involved.

That day is back.

Finally.

Tickets for the Big 4 Basketball Classic will be available through Tickets.Com, at the First Niagara Center box office or by phone at 1-888-223-6000. Tickets range from $20-30.

 

Rappl announces retirement as Canisius softball coach

by Amy Moritz

Legendary Canisius College coach Mike Rappl has decided to step aside from the game.

The only head coach in the 35-year history of the Golden Griffins softball program announced his retirement Monday.

Rappl retires with a career record of 831-526-2, making him the winningest head coach in any sport in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference history.

“It has been a great run and I have so many great memories, almost too many to even try and count,” Rappl said in a release from the school. “There are very few professions in life that give you the opportunity to work with young people and travel all across the United States and the world, while being a part of a game.

"I would like to think that I helped people come to school here and I helped them reach their potential as student-athletes. Then to see them go on and reach their potential in the real world – that’s an amazing feeling. To think I was a small part of that growth process is a great honor.

"Doing this becomes a way of life. You work so hard with your head down, and then you look up and it is 35 years later. This has been very rewarding for me.”

Kim Griffin has been named the program's interim head coach for the 2014-15 season. Griffin has been an assistant to Rappl for the past seven seasons. A permanent successor will be named in the near future.

“Our softball program is one of the premier programs in the MAAC because of the hard word and dedication of Mike Rappl,” Canisius athletic director Bill Maher said. “It is hard to truly describe what Mike Rappl has meant to Canisius College, our athletic department and our softball program.

"Mike has been a pillar of success during his time as a coach and administrator here at the college, and a small part of that success is evident in the numerous academic and athletic honors his teams have received over the years."

Rappl, a Lancaster native who was inducted in to the St. Mary's HIgh School Athletic Hall of Fame, earned his bachelor's degree in physical education from Canisius in 1977 and his master's degree in 1980.

His career achievements could fill pages but here are some of the highlights:

  • He was named MAAC Coach of the Year seven times and led the Griffs to 13 regular season championships, 12 tournament titles and 11 NCAA Division I softball tournament appearances.
  • Rappl had a career record of 330-124 in league play and he saw 61 of his student-athletes earn All-MAAC accolades.
  • His 831 career wins rank him in the top-25 among active Division I softball coaches and he ranks among the top-60 all-time in the NCAA record book.
  • From 1986-93 he was the women's head basketball coach for Canisius winning 93 games.
  • In 2009 Rappl became the first active coach to be inducted into Canisius Sports Hall of Fame. Also in the Hall of Fame are 15 of his former softball players along with the entire 1994 softball team. A total of 15 of his former softball players have also been voted into the school’s Sports Hall of Fame, along with the 1994 team, which was enshrined with the Class of 2013.
  • He was voted into the Western New York Softball Hall of Fame in 2007.
 

 

Wheatfield native Ryan Kuhn verbals to Niagara hockey

by Amy Moritz

Add a verbal commitment to the list for Niagara University hockey. Ryan Kuhn announced on Twitter he committed to the Purple Eagles for the 2015-16 season.

The Wheatfield native played for the Buffalo Junior Sabres this past season. The forward had 32 points (12 goals, 20 assists) in 51 games for the OJHL team. This season he is slated to play for the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL.

 

Law inks deal with Indy Fuel of ECHL

by Amy Moritz

Add Taylor Law to the list of Canisius College hockey alum who have signed professional deals.

Law agreed to terms with the Indy Fuel of the ECHL. The 6-2, 200-pound forward graduated from Canisius this past May.

"Taylor is a big, skilled forward with the ability to score big goals in big situations," Fuel head coach Scott Hillman said in the team's press release. "He'll learn to use his size effectively to compete at the pro level as he makes his transition from college hockey."

Law played 115 games for the Griffs and a shoulder injury ended his junior season after 15 games. He had a standout sophomore season, scoring 11 goals with 15 assists in 35 games winning team MVP honors. Last year he embraced a new role as third-line player with a spot on the power play, notching six goals with four assists in 30 games.

After the Ice Griffs season ended, Law played in four games with Elmira of the ECHL, scoring two goals.

"I think it was big for me to get a taste of the ECHL last year,” Law said. “The game is certainly faster in the pros and to be able to make that adjustment immediately will be huge for me.”

The Indy Fuel are part of the Chicago Blackhawks organization and are affiliated with the AHL's Rockford IceHogs.

Capobianco and Muto among those at NHL development camps

by Amy Moritz

What did you do on your summer vacation?

For a number of college hockey players the answer to that question includes spending a week at an NHL development camp.

Two players from Canisius and one for Niagara are participating in prospect camps along with a number of other players from Atlantic Hockey. (This of course without the official release of the Buffalo Sabres development camp roster. That camp opens on Monday.)

Tony Capobianco, the most decorated goaltender in Canisius program history, was invited to the Philadelphia Flyers Develoment Camp which began on Thursday. Capobianco, who graduated from Canisius in May,finished with school records in saves (3,061), save percentage (.920), goals against average (2.71) and shutouts (eight).

James Mazza, who verbally committed to the Golden Griffins for 2015, is participating in the New York Islanders develoment camp.

Niagara defenseman Vince Muto (Niagara Falls) is finishing his time with the Montreal Canadiens. In his freshman season, Muto played in 37 games notching 19 points from the blue line (five goals, 14 assists).

Mercyhurst has five players at development camps, leading tally in Atlantic Hockey. Senior Matthew Zay is with the Chicago Blackhawks while recent graduates Dan O'Donoghue and Nick Jones are with Arizona and San Jose, respectively.

Verbal recruits for 2015 also participating are Tommasco Bucci and Chris Makowski, both with the Islanders.

Others from Atlantic Hockey include Air Force senior Cole Gunner (Chicago), Bentley senior Alex Grieve (Islanders), Robert Morris junior Brandon Denham (Calgary) and Sacred Heart junior Alex Vazzano (Ottawa).

Canisius hockey releases full schedule

by Amy Moritz

We already knew that Canisius was playing at Niagara and hosting RIT. Now we get the full picture of the Golden Griffins' first year at HarborCenter after the team released its schedule Wednesday morning.

The opening game at HarborCenter will be a two-game series against Ohio State on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. Both games are set for a 7:35 p.m. start. 

The first Atlantic Hockey games in the new digs come Nov. 14-15 when RIT comes to Buffalo.

With HarborCenter a few weeks behind schedule, Canisius will open the season in First Niagara Center, hosting Western Michigan (NCHC) Oct. 10-11. It will be the first time Canisius has played in First Niagara Center since the 2003-04 season when the hosted New Hampshire and UMass-Lowell along with Niagara for the Punch Imlach College Hockey Showcase.

Their other non-conference series is a two-game set at Maine, Jan. 2-3.

The home schedule features a five-game conference homestand to close out the first semester, playing Mercyhurst (Nov. 22), Air Force (Nov. 28-29) and AIC (Dec. 5-6) at HarborCenter before the holiday break.

New this year is a Kids' Day game as the Griffs have scheduled an 11:05 a.m. game on Friday, Jan.9 against Holy Cross.

The rematch of last year's conference championship game won't happen until the last month of the regular season when Canisius travels to Robert Morris Feb. 6-7. It's the only time the teams are scheduled to meet after the Colonials upended the Griffs in the title game last March.

Canisius closes out the regular season with two games at Air Force (Feb. 27-28) with the regular season home finale against Mercyhurst Feb. 21.

Overall the Griffs will play 16 regular-season games at HarborCenter.

The complete Canisius schedule:

Oct. 10 -- Western Michigan (First Niagara Center), 7:35 p.m.
Oct. 11 -- Western Michigan (First NIagara Center), 7:35 p.m.
Oct. 17 -- at Army, 7:05 p.m.
Oct. 18 -- at Army, 7:05 p.m.
Oct. 24 -- at AIC, 7:05 p.m.
Oct. 25 -- at AIC, 7:05 p.m.
Oct. 31 -- Ohio State, 7:35 p.m.
Nov. 1 -- Ohio State, 7:35 p.m.
Nov. 7 -- at Sacred Heart, 7:05 p.m.
Nov. 8 -- at Sacred Heart, 7:05 p.m.
Nov. 14 -- RIT, 7:35 p.m.
Nov. 15 -- RIT, 7:35 p.m.
Nov. 21 -- at Mercyhurst, 7:05 p.m.
Nov. 22 -- Mercyhurst, 7:35 p.m.
Nov. 28 -- Air Force, 2:05 p.m.
Nov. 29 -- Air Force, 7:35 p.m.
Dec. 5 -- AIC, 7:35 p.m.
Dec. 6 -- AIC, 7:35 p.m.
Jan. 2 -- at Maine, 7:05 p.m.
Jan. 3 -- at Maine, 7:05 p.m.
Jan. 9 -- Holy Cross (Kid's Day), 11:05 a.m.
Jan. 10 -- Holy Cross, 7:35 p.m.
Jan. 16 -- Bentley, 7:35 p.m.
Jan. 17 -- Bentley, 7:35 p.m.
Jan. 22 -- at Niagara, 7:05 p.m.
Jan. 24 -- at Niagara, 7:05 p.m.
Feb. 6 -- at Robert Morris, 7:05 p.m.
Feb. 7 -- at Robert Morris, 7:05 p.m.
Feb. 13 -- Army, 7:35 p.m.
Feb. 14 -- Army, 7:35 p.m.
Feb. 20 -- at Mercyhurst, 7:05 p.m.
Feb. 21 -- Mercyhurst, 7:35 p.m.
Feb. 27 -- at Air Force, 9:05 p.m.
Feb. 28 -- at Air Force, TBA

Missed opportunities for Atlantic Hockey

by Amy Moritz

Niagara and Canisius will only play twice in the regular season. Both games will be at Niagara's Dwyer Arena. They will not play each other in the brand new HarborCenter in downtown Buffalo, which is the new home for Canisius hockey.

Wait. What?

Confusion and disbelief were the typical reactions after the Atlantic Hockey schedule was released with little consideration apparently given to Western New York rivalries.

First up, a look at the basics of the conference scheduling. 

With Connecticut leaving Atlantic Hockey for this year for Hockey East (despite the Huskies still being on the official Atlantic Hockey website), Atlantic Hockey is down to 11 members. So the conference decided that scheduling would go like this: programs would play four teams four times. The remaining six teams would be played only twice -- three of them in two-game home series, three of them in two-game road series.

Explained Atlantic Hockey commissioner Bob DeGregorio, "It’s going to be a cycle over the next few years. … Some years you will play people away and not home and some years you will be playing people both home and away. With 11 schools it takes 10 years to complete the cycle."

In an article last May on USCHO.com, Atlantic Hockey commissioner Bob DeGregorio said, "We are still working out the formula. Our intention is to be fair and also maintain local rivalries."

But when asked about the schedule and local rivalries on Wednesday, DeGregorio spoke only of the difficulty in working with an odd number of teams.

"We presented the schedule to the coaches at the coaches’ meeting and it passed. It wasn’t unanimous, but it passed at the coaches' meeting," DeGregorio said. "Then we presented it to the directors and it passed unanimously. The final decision is in the directors’ hands. In perfect honesty with 11 schools it’s very difficult to do a schedule. It stinks. We’re making the best of it. For the first time people who never traveled to Air Force every year will have to go to Air Force a couple of years in a row. That’s the way it works. There’s no easy solution to this unless we get a 12th team and then go back to the drawing board."

So, if Canisius and Niagara drew only two games this year, why not make sure they played in the inaugural year of HarborCenter and let Niagara host next year?

"As far as First Niagara Center, that’s up to them once they get the schedule where they want to play, it’s up to them to move their home games," was DeGregorio's response.

Of course, that doesn't quite answer the question from Western New York fans for two reasons. First, FNC is only hosting two regular season games for Canisius because HarborCenter won't be done until the end of October. Second, the two games are Niagara's home games which is the point of contention. In this inaugural year of HarborCenter, a Niagara-Canisius game would sellout in downtown Buffalo and draw potential new fans. Don't want to cut Niagara out of home games? Make sure that Canisius and Niagara play four times this season.

"We're certainly disappointed to not be playing Niagara in the HarborCenter," Canisius athletic director Bill Maher said. "It's something we hoped could have been worked out. Given the complexities of the Atlantic Hockey schedule and moving to 28 conference games, it was not possible. I do know the commissioner worked very hard and he just wasn't able to make it work.

"You're trying to work with 11 schools all of which have their own levels of priorities. Then you try to balance the east and the west split and travel partners. It's a complex mouse trap. ... Every school has one vote and therein lies the challenge. There are a number of things in our world we would decide differently, but we're one of 11. That's what happens with membership."

While scheduling is complicated, Atlantic Hockey is missing the opportunity to not only protect regional rivalries but enchance them, which in turn helps grow interest in the teams, the league and college hockey as a whole.

Apparently Canisius and Niagara are not consider local rivalries worthy of maintaining.

Neither is Canisius and RIT. Those two teams will also only play twice, both times at HarborCenter with no return games to RIT's brand new campus facility, the Polisseni Center.

This is terribly short-sighted of Atlantic Hockey.

Regional rivalries drive college sports and while fans in Western New York may not yet embrace Atlantic Hockey, they do understand Canisius-Niagara which has a 100-plus year tradition. RIT is new on the scene and Division III in all sports with the exception of the elevated hockey program. But already it hasn't taken long for Buffalo and Lewiston to develop rivalries with Rochester.

Atlantic Hockey did preserve the integrity Niagara-RIT rivalry which will be a pair of home-and-home weekends. But the rivalry has to go deeper than superficial one always pointed out by higher ups. Yes, Niagara coach Dave Burkholder was an All-American goalie for RIT in the 1980s. But that was before the current roster of playres was born (sorry Burkie). RIT may hold on to that memory, but without a long tradition against the Tigers, it merely registers as an interesting footnote at Niagara.

There are better reasons to enchance the rivalries and one of them is to create games which showcase three of the strong programs in the league pitted against each other.

So let's look at the three Western New York programs:

Niagara entered Atlantic Hockey after College Hockey America folded. It has four NCAA appearances on its resume including the first (and currently only) at-large bid to the NCAA tournament from Atlantic Hockey, which came in 2013.

RIT has a history of national success at the Division III level before elevating to Division I in 2006. The Tigers are the only Atlantic Hockey team with a Frozen Four appearance. That came in 2010. RIT will begin play in the brand-spanking new Pollisseni Center this year -- a $38-million facility which will seat about 4,000, perfect for its very enthusiastic fan base which also travels well, especially to regional games. 

Canisius made its first NCAA tournament last year and again made it to the conference championship game. Their success and clear investment in hockey helped land the deal with the Buffalo Sabres to move the Golden Griffins into the new HarborCenter, an 1,800-seat state-of-the-art rink attached to First Niagara Center and an NHL-quality facility.

There are good things happening with programs within Atlantic Hockey. But the league's strategy to grow the league seems to go along the lines of, "Hey look! We have some good teams, players and coaches. You really should come see us." Marketing doesn't work that way. And the work the individual schools are doing to enhance their programs needs better support at the league level.

Which is where the schedule comes into play.

A strong trio in Western New York helps strengthen the entire league, which among the 59 Division I teams has the nine worst average attendance figures. Scheduling Canisius, Niagara and RIT to play each other four times during the regular season, particularly in a year where two of them are opening brand-spanking-new facilities, is an opportunity to draw in, and possibly retain, new fans. It's an opportunity to showcase the best of what's going on in the league. It's an opportunity to increase exposure for the individual teams and for the league.

But all it turned out to be was another opportunity wasted.

Niagara releases hockey schedule

by Amy Moritz

It's an interesting schedule for the Niagara hockey team.

The Atlantic Hockey season is capped with home-and-home series against the defending champion while its local rivalry has been cut in half. And the six non-conference games are pretty challenging as the Purple Eagles released their 2014-15 hockey schedule late Tuesday afternoon.

Niagara opens the season at Dwyer Arena Oct. 10-11 with two games against ECAC teams. Clarkson comes to Monteagle RIdge on Oct. 10 with St. Lawrence visiting Oct. 11.

Niagara then kicks off Atlantic Hockey play against defending champion Robert Morris, traveling to Moon Township on Oct. 17 and returning to Dwyer on Oct. 18. They close out the regular season against the Colonials, the team which defeated Niagara in overtime in the conference semifinals last season, playing at Dwyer on Feb. 27 and in Moon Township on Feb. 28.

Along with the ECAC openers, Niagara's non-conference schedule includes two-game road series at Notre Dame (Oct. 24-25) and at North Dakota (Jan. 16-17).

Now for the mixed news for Western New York college hockey fans.

Niagara will meet RIT four times, with home-and-home series. They meet Dec. 12 and Feb. 7 at the new Polisseni Center on the RIT campus and Dec. 13 and Feb. 6 at Dwyer Arena.

But the annual Western New York grudge match on ice will be a disappointing two games this year, both at Dwyer Arena. Niagara hosts Canisius on Thursday, Jan. 22 and Saturday, Jan. 24.

With Atlantic Hockey membership dropping to 11 teams this season, the league went to a new scheduling format -- play four teams four times then play the other six only twice.

The conference apparently decided that Niagara-RIT was a protected rivalry and not Niagara-Canisius. It also means one of the most interesting matchups in the league will not get a showcase in the Golden Griffins' new home at HarborCenter.

Niagara's complete hockey schedule:

Oct. 10 -- Clarkson, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 -- St. Lawrence, 7 p.m.
Oct. 17 -- at Robert Morris, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 -- Robert Morris, 7 p.m.
Oct. 24 -- at Notre Dame, 7 p.m.
Oct. 25 -- at Notre Dame, 7 p.m
Oct. 31 -- AIC, 7 p.m.
Nov. 1 -- AIC, 7 p.m.
Nov. 7 -- at Bentley, 7:05 p.m.
Nov. 8 -- at Bentley, 7:05 p.m.
Nov. 21 -- Army, 7:05 p.m.
Nov. 22 -- Army, 7 p.m.
Dec. 5 -- Holy Cross, 7 p.m.
Dec. 6 -- Holy Cross, 7:05 p.m.
Dec. 12 -- at RIT, 7 p.m.
Dec. 13 -- RIT, 7:05 p.m.
Jan. 2 -- at Sacred Heart, 7:05 p.m.
Jan. 3 -- at Sacred Heart, 7 p.m.
Jan. 9 -- at Air Force, 9 p.m.
Jan. 10 -- at Air Force, 9 p.m.
Jan. 16 -- at North Dakota, 8 p.m.
Jan. 17 -- at North Dakota, 8 p.m.
Jan. 22 -- Canisius, 7 p.m.
Jan. 24 -- Canisius, 7:05 p.m.
Jan. 30 -- at Holy Cross, 7 p.m.
Jan. 31 -- at Holy Cross, 7 p.m.
Feb. 6 -- RIT, 7 p.m.
Feb. 7 -- at RIT, 7:05 p.m.
Feb. 13 -- at Mercyhurst, 7 p.m.
Feb. 14 -- at Mercyhurst, 7 p.m.
Feb. 20 -- Air Force, 7 p.m.
Feb. 21 -- Air Force, 7 p.m.
Feb. 27 -- Robert Morris, 7 p.m.
Feb. 28 -- at Robert Morris, 7 p.m.

 

News and notes from WNY college hockey

by Amy Moritz

Time for some college hockey news and notes to get you through a post-holiday work week:

Development Camp Update

NHL development camps are underway (or soon to be) and Niagara and Canisius already have some players getting the advantage that comes with a week training with an NHL organization. Niagara freshman Vince Muto is at the Montreal Canadiens development camp this week while James Mazza, a 2015 verbal commitment to Canisius, is at the New York Islanders development camp.

Student-Athletes of the Year

To be a Student-Athlete of the Year in Atlantic Hockey, players must havae a 4.0 grade point average. This year, the league announced 10 winners, including two each from Canisius and Niagara. Golden Griffin sophomore Stephen Miller earned his second-straight honor along with senior Ryan Bohrer. For Niagara, graduate student Kevin Ryan (Eden) and freshman Kevin Patterson earned the nod.

All-Academic Teams

The league also announced all-academic teams, for players who post a 3.0 grade point average.

Canisius had a program record 23 players earn all-academic status with 15 of those returning honorees. The list includes: Bohrer, senior Tony Capobianco, freshman Shane Conacher, sophomore Ralph Cuddemi, senior Ben Danford, sophomore Stephen Farrell, freshman Geoff Fortman, junior Cody Freeman, senior Kyle Gibbons, junior Matthew Grazen (East Amherst), sophomore Adam Harris, freshman Jack Hidi, junior Doug Jessey, freshman Josh Kielich (Orchard Park, junior Carl Larsson, senior Taylor Law, junior Mitch McCrank, Miller, junior Braeden Rigney, junior Logan Roe, sophomore Chris Rumble, senior Patrick Sullivan (Derby) and junior Tyler Wiseman.

Niagara placed 11 players on the all-academic team with seven retuners: freshman Tyler Akeson, junior Michael Benedict (Eden), sophomore Matt Chiarantano, sophomore Matt Dineen, sophomore Dan Kolenda, freshman Phil Nasca, Patterson, sophomore Christopher Paulin (Lockport), senior Ryan Rashid, Ryan and senior Matthew Williams.

NOCO donates to Canisius

In case you missed it earlier, NOCO donated $25,000 to the Canisius Locker Room Fund to help finance the Griffs new home at HarborCenter. The Griffs are scheduled to move in to the building at the end of October.

Walsh named intern assist coach

Tyler Walsh, who spent last season as the director of hockey operations for Canisius, was named the intern assistant coach for the U.S. National Under-17 Team, part of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program.

While with the Griffs, Walsh was responsible for the video coordination and travel while assisting with scouting reports.

A graduate of Maine, Walsh is the son of Shawn Walsh, former head coach for the Black Bears (1984-2001) while his grandfather, Ron Mason, was recently inducted into the USA Hockey Hall of Fame for his coaching career with Lake Superior State, Bowling Green and Michigan State.

Canisius hockey locker room gets lift from NOCO

by Amy Moritz

The Canisius College hockey locker room just got a little boost.

NOCO announced a $25,000 donation to the Locker Room Project for the Golden Griffins new home at HarborCenter. The Griffs are scheduled to open in the new building at the end of October.

"NOCO is honored to collaborate with both Canisius College and HarborCenter in establishing a first-rate hockey facility for players and fans alike," Michael Newman, executive vice president of NOCO said in a release. "We are excited about the ongoing development throughout the City of Buffalo and by contributing to the Canisius Locker Room Project we are not only supporting the college but also contributing to the revitalization of downtown Buffalo and the Canalside District."

The Griffs move into HarborCenter may be delayed a few weeks as construction finishes up, although the school said it already has a contingency plan with the Buffalo Sabres which would put games in First Niagara Center until the 1,800-seat HarborCenter arena opens at the end of October.

In the official release, coach Dave Smith echoed continuing gratitude for community support in growing college hockey in Western New York.

"We are thrilled with the commitment that NOCO has shown the Canisius hockey program,” Smith said. “Its contribution will go long a way in establishing the HarborCenter as one of the unique facilities in hockey and making our locker room state-of-the-art. We are excited to have NOCO be a part of this project and supporting Canisius hockey as we look to continue to elevate our program."

Both Canisius and Niagara are expected to release their schedules sometime in the next two weeks.

UB alum Khalil Mack guest writes Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback

By Keith McShea

As you can see by the tweet above, University at Buffalo graduate Khalil Mack stepped in for the vacationing Peter King on this week's Monday Morning Quarterback column

Some short excerpts: 

  • "Although it wasn’t a powerhouse program, I loved my time at Buffalo."
  • "The NFL is a business. We know that as players, but the experience that hammered that home for me the most was the NFLPA Rookie Premiere. ... The demands and rewards of the business are tied together and it is amazing to see how many people are behind the scenes working every day to help connect us with our fans."

Mack even does his own version of King's "10 things I think I think," which included: 

"7. I think my first impression of Oakland was, “Wow, the weather out here is nice.” It’s a lot different from where I was in Buffalo."

Some of the best stuff in the entire article is the other entries in "10 things," including the first four, which focus on how he is adapting his game to the NFL with the help of Oakland veterans. 

"But I have to be careful what I say for my opponents who might read this."

Some links to News features on Mack:

UB men's basketball to play games at Kentucky, Wisconsin

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UB's nonconference schedule includes a Big 4 home game against Niagara in Alumni Arena. (Harry Scull Jr./News file photo)

By Taylor Nigrelli

The University at Buffalo’s men’s basketball nonconference schedule will include two games against teams who were in the Final Four last year as well as a marquee Big 4 matchup downtown, the school announced today.

The Bulls will take on 2013-14’s national runner-up, Kentucky, on Nov. 16 as part of the Cawood Ledford Classic, a 10-day, multiple-team event.

UB will also travel to take on the Wisconsin Badgers, who lost to Kentucky in a Final Four matchup in April, on Dec. 28.

According to second-year coach Bobby Hurley, the program was looking for a more challenging non-conference slate after winning its first-ever outright Mid-American Conference East Division title in 2013-14.

"We wanted to challenge ourselves in the non-conference season and we certainly accomplished that," Hurley said in a statement. "These are the types of games that the guys we are recruiting expect to play each year as we move forward.”

For the second year in a row, the First Niagara Center will play host to UB and Canisius as the two will face off Nov. 29.

The Bulls will also take on Big Four rivals St. Bonaventure and Niagara University Dec. 3 and Dec. 19, respectively. UB will host the Purple Eagles and travel to take on the Bonnies.

UB will open the season Nov. 14 with a women’s and men’s doubleheader against South Dakota State as a make up for last year’s weather-related postponement.

The Cawood Ledford Classic includes road games for the Bulls against Texas-Arlington (Nov. 18) and Grand Canyon (Nov. 25) as well as a home game against Montana State (Nov. 21).

Other non-conference opponents include: Robert Morris (Dec. 7), Drexel (Dec. 16), Binghamton (Dec. 30) and Cornell (Jan. 3).

The Bulls will also host an exhibition against Wheeling Jesuit Nov. 6. The Mid-American Conference schedule is set to be released later this summer. Season tickets for Alumni Arena will go on sale July 21.

Here is a look at the Bulls' 2014-15 nonconference slate:

Big 4 #ChillinForCharity

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Niagara takes on the Cold Water Challenge. (courtesy Niagara sports information.)

 

by Amy Moritz

It started on Facebook as the cold water challenge -- friends challenging other friends to dunk themselves in icy cold water tied into contributions to various charities.

The Women's Basketball Coaches Association took the idea and created a bunch of summer fun on social media.

Coaches and players from around the country are challenging each other in the #ChillinForCharity to raise money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

Here's how it works: Coaches are challenged and they either have to be doused in cold water or donate $250 to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. If they take the challenge, the person who challenged them has to donate $50. After taking the challenge coaches then challenge someone else. Many of the videos have been posted on the WBCA website along with photos all over Twitter.

"The women's basketball community really comes together behind causes," Niagara coach Kendra Faustin said. "We very competitive on the court, but step away from the court and we're really very good at remembering we're a big community. And this was a lot of fun."

All the Big 4 women's basketball programs took part.

 

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St. Bonaventure taking on the Cold Water Challenge. (@CoachAndiD)

Contingency plans in place for Canisius as HarborCenter works toward late October opening

 

 

 

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HarborCenter President John Koelmel takes in the main hockey rink, which is taking shape, on June 25. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

 

By Amy Moritz

Today was a big day for HarborCenter. Five months after construction began the final beam of structural steel was swung into place to top off the parking ramp and rinks. Officials said HarborCenter would be ready to go at the end of October.

There's only one problem. College hockey season begins in early October, including home games for the Canisius College Golden Griffins. The program is scheduled to move into HarborCenter this season.

Ah, but no worries. Canisius athletic director Bill Maher said the school and the Buffalo Sabres had already planned for the possiblity of construction delays. Canisius has worked in partnernship with the Sabres for a smooth transition and early season games will be played in First Niagara Center should the rinks at HarborCenter not be ready when the Griffs drop the puck on the 2014-15 season.

Canisius will be releasing its season schedule as early as next week.

The last time regular season college hockey was played at First Niagara Center was Oct. 24-25, 2003, when Canisius, Niagara, New Hampshire and UMass-Lowell played in the Punch Imlach College Hockey Showcase.

Berard takes over Holy Cross men's hockey program

by Amy Moritz

A new face will be behind the bench in Atlantic Hockey as David Berard was named the new head coach at Holy Cross today. He takes over the program after Paul Pearl resigned after 19 seasons to take the associate head coaching job at Harvard.

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David Berard was named Holy Cross head coach. (www.goholycross.com)

Berard was a longtime assistant at Providence, his alma mater, and served as the interim head coach at the Connecticut for the majority of the 2012-2013 season. During that season the Huskies finished the year 10-3-2, sweeping Robert Morris in the Atlantic Hockey quarterfinal series before losing in the conference semifinals.

A 1992 graduate of Providence, he was a goaltender for the Friars with one of the most successful classes in that program's history. In his four-year career, the Friars won 87 games and twice qualified for the NCAA tournament.

The Crusaders went 11-13-3 in conference play this past season, 14-22-3 overall. The team won two Atlantic Hockey titles and advanced to the NCAA tournament in 2004 and 2006.

A look inside RIT's new hockey arena

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The Polisseni Center construction is nearly completed. (Democrat & Chronicle)

 

by Amy Moritz

While the Canisius hockey team is anxious to move into its new digs at HarborCenter this fall, RIT is getting ready to move into its brand spanking new hockey home as well.

The Polisseni Center on the school's Rochester campus is set to open in September to host both the Tigers' men's and women's hockey programs.

Democrat & Chronicle reporter Jim Mandelaro has an update on the construction, complete with a gallery of photos and video, of the new arena.

Polisseni Center will seat about 4,000, including 290 club seats and six luxery suites. Fans will have more choices from two concession stands along with 13 restrooms, 275 parking spaces outside the arena and a Barnes and Noble for all your RIT hockey merchandising needs.

The rink itself is also bigger -- 200 feet by 85 feet. That's considered regulation size but 15 feet longer than the 46-year old Ritter Arena.

The Atlantic Hockey schedule has not been released yet, so no word when Niagara and Canisius will have the opportunity to play in the new building.

Rule changes and recruiting agreements in college hockey

by Amy Moritz

When Bentley scored the game-winning overtime goal against Canisius to take the first game of the Atlantic Hockey  playoff series, the Falcons were very much offsides. The officials missed the call, the play continued and the goal was scored.

The Golden Griffins came back to win the next two games eventually advancing to the Atlantic Hockey Championship game. But that missed offsides call, and a few others in key games over the last few years, is one of the reasons the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee recommended changes to video replay which allowed for a play to be reviewed if an offsides or too many men penalty was missed and a goal was scored.

"It's an evolution to the rule and we've been a piece of that," Canisius coach Dave Smith.

The rest of the rule recommendations are sublte (see this post on SBNation for a good summary of the changes) and among them involve faceoff locations which favor the attacking team, both when the puck goes out of play and in calling a hand pass or high stick.

"The bottom line is that any time you can help try to create offense, it's a good thing," Niagara coach Dave Burkholder said. "We want to increase scoring."

Note that this year all Atlantic Hockey teams will be required to have video replay capabilities as per NCAA rules, although the availability of camera angles may differ from rink to rink.

The subtly of college hockey was in the news around the web this summer after coaches at their annual convention took up the topic of verbal commitments. The coaches have had an informal "gentleman's agreement" in which once a player makes a verbal commitment to a school, other coaches will stop recruiting him.

Some coaches, particularly at the bigger schools, would like that to change.

Here's what happens: A verbal commitment is made before a player can sign an NCAA National Letter of Intent. The verbal is non-binding and happens in every single NCAA sport.

College hockey, however, isn't just recruiting against other schools. It's recruiting against major junior hockey (see: Ontario Hockey League) which means the process extends to athletes at a younger age because once a player signs with a major junior team, he loses his amateur status in the eyes of the NCAA.

Two things tend to happen. The bigger schools stockpile verbal recruits, meaning they make non-binding verbal agreements with more players than they have available scholarships/roster spots. Since many hockey players will enroll at an older age (it's not uncommon to have a 21-year-old freshman on your college hockey roster), schools can push verbal commitments back, keeping a player tied to a school for a number of years before he even signs his letter of intent.

The second thing is that smaller or mid-major programs will hit the youth rinks to find talented players at a young age, recruit them hard and get them to verbally commit before the bigger schools find out about them. The big schools would love a chance to recruit those kids, only after the smaller schools have done the leg work to find them.

Both local coaches support halting the recruiting process once a player has made a verbal commitment.

"I support the verbal commitments and honoring those," Smith said. "I think it's important to have to maintain the integrity of college hockey. We're all in this together. If that young man made a commitment, I don't think he should deal with pressure to go some place else. It's all about what helps college hockey and all boats rise when the best kids decide to play college hockey."

"I'm a proponent of the verbal commitments," Burkholder said. "You're out there working hard and if you get a kid who you feel is right for your program and is a good fit and makes a verbal commitment, no one else should be able to recruit him. ... It's something that as a body we should be monitoring and then if it becomes an issue with some programs, hold them accountable."

 

Mason Making Leap to Auburn

By Bob DiCesare

Antoine Mason's announcement that he'll play his final season at Auburn is being portrayed nationally as a quality catch for new Tigers coach Bruce Pearl. Whether that proves true depends on if Mason, a 6-foot-3 guard with one season of eligibility remaining, makes a seamless transition from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, ranked No. 16 in the RPIs last season, to the SEC, ranked No. 7.

Mason averaged 25.6 points for Niagara last season, and that makes him the top returning scorer in the country. He pretty much had free reign as the Purple Eagles went young after coach Joe Miahlich left for Hofstra and three significant players transferred out. New coach Chris Casey gave him mega-minutes and rode the horse -- for better or worse. There weren't many other options at the offensive end.

Will Auburn grant Mason the same kind of freedom? And will his physical approach to offense remain effective against taller, stronger guards in the SEC?

Mason has always craved a challenge, whether it was coming back from the injury that ended his true freshman season or trying to carry his young teammates in the post-Mihalich upheaval. But despite his warrior-like attitude and his undeniable grittiness it's interesting that coaches left him off the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conferene first team after last season, going with five players instead of six even though Mason had been part of a six-man first team the season before.

Was that a commentary on his style? Does the demotion mean the coaches perceived his approach at exceedingly me-first? Maybe so. But there's no denying his offensive gifts.

That aside, Mason's departure was the best thing for Niagara moving forward. Casey can now build a program without deferring to one player. He can develop balance within the offense, something that wasn't going to happen so long as Mason was in uniform. This is a transfer situation that should prove best for all involved.

Oakland selects Niagara pitcher

The Oakland Athletics selected Niagara University pitcher Jordan Schwartz in the fourth round of the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Friday.


Schwartz is a 6-foot-2 righty from Hornell, who was taken with the 132nd pick of the draft. He is the second highest drafted Purple Eagle in program history. Doug Farrell was picked in the second and third rounds of the 1971 and 72 drafts by the Pittsburgh Pirates.


Schwartz is the sixth Niagara player drafted by an MLB squad since 2005. The others include  James Avery, Dan Griffin and Reed Eastley (2005), Jeff Vincent (2006), and Wynton Bernard (2012).


Schwartz was sort of like Niagara's version of Babe Ruth, playing the outfield when he wasn't pitching. On the mound, he led the Purple Eagles' staff with a 3.12 earned-run average in 14 starts and tossed five complete games. He led the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in strikeouts (109), while holding opponents to .217 batting average. He also made 38 starts in the outfield, batting .258 with three doubles, 20 RBIs and 132 runs scored.


"I am extremely proud of Jordan and few deserve it more than him,” Niagara head coach Rob McCoy said. “He worked extremely hard and made himself what he is today. He's a perfect example of what can be achieved when using trials and struggles to get stronger and tougher, instead of getting consumed by them. I look forward to him growing even more as a pro."

Griffs poised to defend their MAAC title

by Amy Moritz

The longest winning streak in the nation just kept roling on Friday as the Canisius Golden Griffins defeated Fairfield, 6-2, in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood, N.J.

It was the Griffs 18th straight win -- the longest streak in the country -- and their 40th overall. That's the second straight season, and third since 2008, that the Griffs have registered 40 wins.

The offense worked incrementally but again forcefully. Senior Jimmy Luppens reached base in all five plate appearances getting base twice via hit, twice via walk and once via hit by pitch. Sophomore Anthony Massicci was 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored. Junior Connor Panas reached base three times while senior Ronnie Bernick was 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Alex Godzak won his sixth straight start, giving up two runs (one earned) in 6 1/3 innings.

Iannick Remillard shut the door over the final 2 2/3 innings to pick up his second save of the season.

Canisius will play in the championship round Saturday. The schedule will be based on the results of the next two games of the tournament. The Griffs will defend their MAAC title against one of three remaining teams -- Siena, Monmouth or Fairfield.

 

Mike Burke sets modern strikeout mark as UB advances to MAC semifinals

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by Amy Moritz

A sparkling performance from Mike Burke on the mound lifted the University at Buffalo to the Mid-American Conference semifinal round.

Burke threw a complete-game shutout as the Bulls defeated Miami (Ohio) 4-0 at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, Ohio Friday afternoon.

The Bulls (26-25) will face Akron at 9:30 Saturday needing to win twice in the double elimination tournament to bounce the Zips and move on to the championship round.

Burke scattered seven hits and striking out four to give him the program's modern era record of 78 strikeouts in a season. He threw 102 pitches, 75 of them for strikes in an effective outing.

But then again, Burke has played well in elimination games for the Bulls. The senior from Cleveland is 3-0 in MAC tournament games allowing just two earned runs in 26 innings pitched. All three wins were in elimination games.

Last year he threw eight shutout innings against Northern Illinois while in 2012 he gave up two runs in eight innings to Western Michigan. 

The Bulls rode the strength of Burke's arm, nursing a 1-0 lead it took in the first inning on a sacrifice fly from Tyler Mautner.

In the eighth, Matt Pollock had an RBI double and scored on an error by the Miami third baseman.

The Bulls added one more in the ninth on an RBI single from Brian Dudek.

Rocco finds opportunities in Italy

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Former Niagara Purple Eagle Vince Rocco played for Italy in the World Championships

 

by Amy Moritz

Each tournament is an opportunity for Vince Rocco to grow as a hockey player. After all, you learn a lot when you're lining up across from Jaromir Jagr in an international competition.

The results weren't what Rocco was hoping for, but the experience was invaluable. The former Niagara Purple Eagle was on his third national team for Italy, which went just 1-7 in the preliminary round at the IIHF World Championships in Belarus.

"I thought we had a good tournament," Rocco said via Skype. "It was the third time for me going to the World Championships so I knew what to expect. For a small hockey country like Italy, I thought we played well enough to stay up. Unfortunately we didn't get the bounces to go our way. All in all it wa sa great experience. Obviously you learn some valuable lessons at that level."

Rocco, a native of Woodbridge, Ontario, played at Niagara from 2005-09 and finished with 120 career points (46 goals, 74 assists) and captained the 2007-08 team that won the College Hockey America title and NCAA tournament berth.

He decided to play in Italy and after two seasons he fulfilled the residency requirement to get his Italian passport and become eligible for the national team.

"You have no idea what to expect and once you get over there you realize how good the hockey really is," Rocco said. "You don't realize that every team in Italy has 10 or 11 guys from Canada and America, guys who have played years in the American League or have NHL experience. It's really a good league to get in to."

After four years in Italy, Rocco moved to Sweden this past season, taking the opportunity to upgrade the level of league.

The opportunities overseas include a different type of hockey lifestyle. Teams typically play 40-60 games, more akin to a college schedule than a North American pro schedule, allowing for more time to explore nearby European cities.

The hockey itself is on a bigger ice surface and the while the game overall is faster, Rocco has found the quickness comes not so much in speed as in smarts.

"College hockey especially emphasises skating as fast as you can for short bursts of speed and playing with high energy all the time," Rocco said. "When you go to the pro game, it slows down a bit. Guys are smarter with the puck. You've got to read the game better and have more patience making plays. In college hockey, you don't have the time to do that.

"I'm still growing as a hockey player. I'm still learning. The World Championships help to realize, playing against guys like Jaromir Jagr, what it really means. I just learn every year and take little things from different players and teams to become a better player myself."

This World Championships, he also got to reunite with his former teammate and roommate, Dan Sullivan. The defenseman also went to Italy after finishing at Niagara in 2009 but made his first Italian national team this season. The native of Scarborough, Ontario had seven goals and 23 assists while at Niagara.

"Getting to play at this level with a guy I roomed with and played with for four years was really nice," Rocco said. "It was great to reminisce and play with him again."

Rocco will return to Canada on Saturday and decide over the summer where he will play next year.

 

Canisius baseball extends winning streak to 17

 by Amy Moritz

The nation's longest winning streak extended to 17 as the Canisius Golden Griffins won its opening game of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament, 10-1, over Quinnipiac.

The Griffs fell behind, 1-0, at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood, N.J., but a two run-home run from Jimmy Luppens in the bottom of the first gave Canisius a lead it would build on.

 Luppens finished by driving in four runs on three hits while Anthony Massicci drove in three runs on three hits.

It was the sixth straight game the Griffs have scored nine or more runs and 23rd time this season as they improved to 39-14.

Rohn Pierce gave up just one run — in the first inning — and finished with three strikeouts and three hits in six innings throwing just 70 pitches

Canisius plays at noon on Friday against the winner of today’s game between Fairfield and Siena.

 

 

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About Campus Watch

Bob Dicesare

Bob DiCesare

Western New York native Bob DiCesare covers UB football, Big 4 basketball and writes an occasional column. He still holds a grudge against Chris Ford who, he's convinced, cost St. Bonaventure the 1970 NCAA basketball championship.

@TBNDicesare | bdicesare@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered colleges for The Buffalo News since 1999. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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