Friday, March 29, 2013

Canisius hopes to stay hot

On March 1, Canisius was in ninth place in Atlantic Hockey. The goal was simply to get enough points to move up in the standings and secure home ice for the league playoffs.

The Golden Griffins swept RIT, earning home ice for a first-round series with Bentley. Then came a sweep of Bentley. Another sweep at Air Force to reach the AHA semis. An upset of No. 15 Niagara and finally a crushing 7-2 victory over Mercyhurst to capture their first NCAA bid.

"No one's picked us to win all season," Canisius junior Kyle Gibbons said Friday morning following practice at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence. "That's fine with us. It's not something we're striving for, to have people pick us to win games. We're fine being an underdog."

Canisius, in ninth on March 1, is now ranked 20th in the nation. It will take the ice tomorrow with a chance to upset the No. 1 team in the country, Quinnipiac.

Offense has been the key for the Griffs. They've doubled their offensive output from the first five months of the season, averaging 4.5 goals during the current 8-game win streak.

Goaltender Tony Capobianco has been outstanding all season, and tends to rise to the occasion. Among his season highlights: A 1-0 loss at No. 1 Minnesota, a 2-0 shutout of No. 15 Niagara and just five goals allowed last weekend.

"We certainly don't overlook Tony in our locker room," Canisius coach Dave Smith said. "We know how important he is. He is calm, with a quiet demeanor, and gets the job done."


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