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College hockey: Canisius shoots for share of first place; Niagara on the road

Undefeated on home ice so far this season, Canisius will be shooting for a share of first place in the Atlantic HOckey Conference when it faces Mercyhurst at 7:35 p.m. on Friday at HarborCenter.

While the Griffs are home, Niagara (2-8-2, 2-3-1 Atlantic Hockey) will be in New England to face AIC (2-5-5, 2-4-4 Atlantic Hockey) at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass.

Canisius is 3-0-2 in the downtown rink including a win and a tie last weekend against AIC. Canisius is 5-7-2 overall, including four losses to defending NCAA champion North Dakota and Penn State, another nationally ranked team.

In Atlantic Hockey, though, Canisius is 4-2-2 and could tie Army and RIT for first place by picking two points from the Lakers on Friday. It will be the last game for the Griffs until the are home Dec. 2-3 against Bentley.

Three of Canisius' five top scorers are newcomers including freshmen Matt Hoover (4-3-7) and Nick Hutchison (6-1-7). The rookies and senior goalie Charles Williams, a transfer, have been the story of teh season so far. Williams began the week ranked fourth in the nation with a .945 save percentage. He has two shutouts and ranked 13th in the nation in goals-against average (2.01).

Canisius and Mercyhurst have met 84 times on the ice with Mercyhurst holding a 41-33-10 advantage. Canisius 8-2-1 against the Lakers since 2013 and twice has eliminated them from the postseason.

Mercyhurst is 4-8-0, 4-5-0 in Atlantic Hockey after a loss on home ice to RIT (4-3) on Wednesday night.

Sophomore Derek Barach leads Mercyhurst in both assists (12) and points (14). Sophomore Les Lancaster is second on the team in scoring with 12 points while junior Jonathan Charbonneau is third with 10. Charbonneau leads Mercyhurst in goals scored with seven.

After an 0-8-2 start, Niagara won two of its three games last week, edging Mercyhurst, 5-4, at Dwyer Arena and splitting a two-game series agaisnt Sacred Heart in Bridgeport, Conn.

Derian Plouffe (3-1-4) and T.J. Sarcona (2-2-4) led the Purple Eagles in the three games. Niagara won three of four over AIC last sason and is 11-4-0 all-time against the Yellowjackets. AIC freshman Dominik Florian is the leading rookie scorer in Atlantic Hockey with 11 points (7-4) in 12 games.


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