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BNRinkside: Three things Canisius hockey as the Griffs travel to Sacred Heart

It's the first road trip of the season for Canisius as the Griffs head to Milford, Conn. for two Atlantic Hockey games with Sacred Heart. The Griffs split last weekend with Holy Cross, showing flashes of great potential with the inconsistency of youth.

Three things to watch this weekend:

1. How does Reilly Turner rebound? The sophomore goaltender had a rough outing on Saturday. He gave up three first period goals and was yanked after 20 minutes. He was fighting the puck at times and let in pucks he normally would have stopped. Coach Dave Smith noted that Turner's mentality and approach have been consistent which should allow him to fight through the tough results. "With Reilly he wants to stop every puck," Smith said. "He competes like that. When he doesn’t, how has his demeanor been? And it’s been great. He’s been working at improving. Working on his game and those are things that aren’t every going to change win or lose."

2. Can the Griffs play a good first period? The opening stanza has been the trouble spot for Canisius. In the first four games, the Griffs have been outscored, 7-0, putting them as the only team in college hockey to have not scored a first-period goal. Taking an early lead would do wonders for the team's confidence and avoid the mistakes that come when young players are frantically playing from behind.

3. Secondary scoring. The top line of senior Ralph Cuddemi, junior Shane Conacher and sophomore Ryan Schmelzer continues to be a smooth and strong offensive trio. The line has 13 points (six goals, seven assists) through the first four games, accounting for 87.5 percent of the teams goals. While the top line clicking is a key for the Griffs, they also need other players to contribute. Balance not only adds to goals but takes the pressure off that top line.

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