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Canisius hockey prepares for life without Conacher and Cuddemi

Canisius Golden Griffins 

Coach: Dave Smith (12th season, 151-212-52)

Last year: Finished 12-22-5 overall and in seventh place in Atlantic Hockey. Beat Niagara in the first-round Atlantic Hockey playoff series then lost in the quarterfinals at Air Force.

Key losses: The Griffs lose the bulk of their scoring as Ralph Cuddemi graduated and is now playing with the Flordia Everblades in the ECHL while Shane Conacher left after his junior season to sign with the Toronto Marlies in the AHL. The duo combined for 40 of the Griffs’ 92 goals.

Key returners: Canisius has just two seniors – defensemen Geoff Fortman (captain) and Josh Kielich. They will need to lead a young team and a talented sophomore class which had to endure the ups and downs of learning college hockey. Junior Ryan Schmelzer had 32 points last year (10 goals, 22 assists) and will need to fill some of the scoring void. Also look for a step up from sophomore forward Dylan McLaughlin (21 points in league games) and sophomore defenders Cameron Heath and Jimmy Mazza.

Biggest question mark: Goaltending. Reilly Turner did not return to Canisius, opting to go to a Canadian college instead. That leaves sophomore Simon Hofley who played 27 games for the Griffs last year, who played well in spurts and put up some good numbers but struggled at times with consistency. The Griffs now have four (count ‘em four) goalies on their roster. Charles Williams is a senior transfer from Ferris State. Freshman Daniel Urbani was named the top goalie of the RBC Cup last year while fellow rookie Blake Weyrick played with the U.S. National Team Development Program from 2012-14.

Smith on changing roles of his team: “Most of these guys, their roles should change and it should change in concert with their development but also with the window of opportunity with guys leaving.”

2016-17 Schedule
(home games at HarborCenter, all times ET)
Oct. 7 at North Dakota, 8:37 p.m.
Oct. 8 at North Dakota, 8:07 p.m.
Oct. 14 at Brice Alaska Gold Rush vs. Alaska,  11:07 p.m.
Oct. 15 at Brice Alaska Gold Rush vs. Alaska-Anchorage, 8:07 p.m.
Oct. 21 vs. Robert Morris, 7:35 p.m.
Oct. 22 vs. Robert Morris, 7:35 p.m.
Oct. 28 at Penn State, 7:05 p.m.
Oct. 29 at Penn State, 7:05 p.m.
Nov. 4 vs. RIT, 7:35 p.m.
Nov. 5 at RIT, 7:05 p.m.
Nov. 11 at Army West Point, 7:05 p.m.
Nov. 12 at Army West Point, 7:05 p.m.
Nov. 18 vs. AIC, 7:35 p.m.
Nov. 19 vs. AIC, 4:05 p.m.
Nov. 25 vs. Mercyhurst, 7:35 p.m.
Dec. 2 vs. Bentley, 7:35 p.m.
Dec. 3 vs. Bentley, 7:35 p.m.
Dec. 30 at Holy Cross, 4:05 p.m.
Dec. 31 at Holy Cross, 4:05 p.m.
Jan. 6 vs. St. Lawrence, 7:35 p.m.
Jan. 7 vs. St. Lawrence, 7:35 p.m.
Jan. 13 at Air Force, 9:05 p.m.
Jan. 14 at Air Force, 7:05 p.m.
Jan. 20 at RIT, 7:05 p.m.
Jan. 21 vs. RIT, 7:35 p.m.
Jan. 24 vs. Niagara, 7:35 p.m.
Jan. 27 at AIC, 2:05 p.m.
Jan. 28 at AIC, 2:05 p.m.
Jan. 31 at Niagara, 7:05 p.m.
Feb. 3 vs. Army West Point, 7:35 p.m.
Feb. 4 vs. Army West Point, 4:05 p.m.
Feb. 10 at Sacred Heart, 7:05 p.m.
Feb. 11 at Sacred Heart, 2:05 p.m.
Feb. 15 vs. Niagara, 7:35 p.m.
Feb. 17 at Niagara, 7:05 p.m.
Feb. 23 vs. Mercyhurst, 7:05 p.m.
March 3-5 Atlantic Hockey First Round, Campus Sites
March 10-12 Atlantic Hockey Quarterfinals, Campus Sites
March 17 Atlantic Hockey Semifinals, at Blue Cross Arena
March 18 Atlantic Hockey Championship, at Blue Cross Arena

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