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[BN] Rinkside: Canisius looking for offense as they open Atlantic Hockey play

After four games and just three goals, the Canisius Golden Griffins returned to HarborCenter looking for some offense.

The team lost its top forwards (Ralph Cuddemi to graduation and Shane Conacher to a pro contract) and have struggled to find the back of the net the first two weekends of the season, including being shut out by North Dakota and Alaska Anchorage.

No Canisius player entered Friday's game against Robert Morris at HarborCenter with multiple points and the Griffs have just one power play goal on the year from freshman Nick Hutchison who scored against North Dakota in a 4-1 loss.

"We don’t know where the goals are going to come from," Canisius coach Dave Smith said earlier this week. "We have guys that have scored in the past. We have guys that are scoring in practice and they look good. We’ve got to just translate that to a game. The power play would help. If you can get a goal a game on the power play you can be pretty special. I think that takes a lot of pressure off the five-on-five. It takes pressure off the penalty kill. I think collectively we just have to find somebody that gets a hot stick, find a little chemistry in there and create chances. We’d like to create more and then capitalize."

The Griffs returned junior forward Ryan Schmelzer to the lineup after he missed both games at the Brice Alaska Gold Rush with an injury. Schmelzer is the leading returning scorer for the Griffs, scoring 10 goals with 22 assists as a sophomore largely playing on the top line with Conacher and Cuddemi.

Schmelzer was listed as centering the second line between sophomore Felix Chamberland and freshman Matt Hoover.

New faces: Hoover was one of five freshmen in the lineup for the Griffs making their Atlantic Hockey and HarborCenter debut. Also new to the Griffs was starting goaltender Charles Williams. The senior transferred with one year of eligibility left after playing four years at Ferris State. This was his third start for the Griffs. Williams entered the game with a 1-1 mark allowing five goals for a 2.47 goals against average and a .932 save percentage.

Penalty kill: Canisius entered the game with a solid penalty killing unit which had allowed just three power play goals in 18 attempts. Their 83.3 penalty-killing percentage ranked 31st in the country.

All-time series: Robert Morris came into the weekend with a 15-7-2 advantage in the all-time series.

Up next: The Griffs and Robert Morris play again at 7:35 p.m. Saturday in HarborCenter. The Griffs then travel for a pair of non-conference games at Penn State Oct. 28-29 returning home to host Atlantic Hockey rival RIT on Nov. 4.

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