The Canisius and Niagara hockey teams no doubt weren’t satisfied with their play in the opening portion of the season. Their first games in 2016 represent a chance to get untracked a bit.
Canisius is off to American International in Springfield, Mass., for two games. The opener is Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. The Golden Griffins are 5-12-1, but are 5-6-1 in Atlantic Hockey play. AIC is 4-13, 4-8 AH.
Shane Conacher has been Canisius’ top scorer in the first half of the season. He has 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points. Senior Ralph Cuddemi isn’t far behind with 20 points. In goal, Reilly Turner has a 3.44 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage.
The Griffins are an impressive 16-1-3 in their last 20 games with the Yellow Jackets. AIC hasn’t played since Dec. 11-12, when they swept Army West Point. American International is allowing 4.53 goals per game. That’s the worst such figure in the nation.
Niagara and Sacred Heart get together for back-to-back games, starting Saturday night in Milford, Conn.
The teams are close together in the Atlantic Hockey standings. Niagara has a 3-6-1 conference record (3-11-1 overall), while the Pioneers are 4-7-1 in the league (5-10-2 overall).
Niagara also has had quite a break. Its last win came on Dec. 11, when the Eagles shut out RIT. Jackson Teichroeb had the shutout in the Niagara net. It was the first Purple Eagles shutout in almost two years; Teichroeb had that one as well in March 2014. After going 1-9-2 through the end of November, Niagara was 2-2 in the month of December.
Sacred Heart hasn’t won a game in its last eight starts (0-7-1). Its last win came against American International on Nov. 10. Evan Jasper (15 points) and Justin Danford (14) lead the Pioneers in scoring.