Sometimes the best thing after a loss is the next game. For Canisius, the ability to get right back in action on the odd Tuesday night Atlantic Hockey game may be the cure for the shot-blocking blues.
The Golden Griffins ran into an Ohio State team that packed its defense around its new, untested goaltender. The Buckeyes blocked 20 shots in a 3-1 win over Canisius on Saturday to stymie an improved offensive attack from the Griffs.
While the scoreboard shows a weekend sweep for Ohio State, it doesn’t indicate how well the Griffins played in the non-conference series.
Canisius will look to match effort with result tonight against RIT at 7 p.m. in the Buffalo State Ice Arena.
The Tigers (1-5-2, 1-2-0 Atlantic Hockey) had last weekend off while the Griffs are playing on only two days rest. But at this time of the year, the team isn’t exactly hungry to take the ice for practice.
“You’re here to learn but games are what you want,” Canisius coach Dave Smith said. “Let’s go play games, let’s get at it. Give us another chance to play.”
The Griffs want a new chance to capitalize on the opportunities they generated in Saturday’s.
“I think the shot opportunities were great,” said junior forward Cody Freeman. “There were some good lanes and people made some good plays to find open guys. I don’t think every team is going to be like Ohio State … I think if we get as many shot opportunities and get more through, we’ll be plenty more successful.”
The Griffs have already demonstrated an ability to correct and tweak from game to game. On Friday night, Smith criticized the team’s play in the neutral zone. So on Saturday morning instead of a pregame skate, they had a video session.
“We watched 52 clips on Saturday morning and they absolutely 100 percent cleaned it up,” Smith said. “I think it’s a club that wants to be good. … and they got the message and applied it. That’s just being a good hockey player.”
“We just sat down as a team and settled down and talked about some of the things we needed to simplify and get back to playing the way we did in Denver and against Mercyhurst that made us successful,” Freeman said. “I think some of the biggest things for us is just playing simple. Getting pucks out of our own end and controlling the puck. We had a lot of turnovers on Friday night and I think on Saturday we eliminated those.”
At 2-7-0 overall, the Griffs kicked off the season with a bumpy start, in part with a tough opening schedule. They are 1-3-0 in Atlantic Hockey with their next five games against conference opponents.
Meanwhile, Niagara travels to Erie, Pa. tonight for an Atlantic Hockey matchup with Mercyhurst.
The Purple Eagles are coming off a weekend sweep of Army where they netted 13 goals in two games.
Niagara is still winless on the road though it improved to 3-1-1 in conference play.
Mercyhurst (3-6-1, 2-1-0 Atlantic Hockey) was off this weekend. The Lakers last played on Nov. 9, a 4-3 loss at Canisius.