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[BN] Rinkside: Canisius' Schmelzer finds scoring touch in breakout weekend

It’s been a transition year for Ryan Schmelzer.

The forward spent the majority of his first two seasons with the Canisius College Golden Griffins playing with Shane Conacher and Ralph Cuddemi. The trio accounted for the majority of the team’s offense, particularly in key games late in the season.

But the Griffs have struggled to find offense without Conacher and Cuddemi. And Schmelzer has had to develop chemistry with new linemates.

“It’s a little bit different. I’m playing the D-zone a little more than I’m used to but that’s what happens,” Schmelzer said of the transition to life without Conacher and Cuddemi. “Those guys are great players. I don’t want to take that away from them but there are guys on this team who have definitely stepped up and don’t do the same thing but can create offense and make plays too.

“It’s just trying to find that chemistry. I played with those guys for two years. I don’t know how many games, 50-plus games or whatever it was. Just finding chemistry with those guys and this weekend was a good start.”

The weekend was a five-point breakout for Schmelzer as the junior from Buffalo emerged from a nine-game pointless skid in a pair of games against Bentley. The Griffs earned a win and a tie in their last games before their semester break.

Schmelzer had two goals and three assists, including twice setting up new linemate Dylan McLaughlin. That gives him the Griffs’ scoring lead (four goals, six assists) and earned him Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week honors.

“Our whole team has been pretty snakebitten this year. Offense has been hard to come by,” Schmelzer said. “It’s just sticking with it. We had a line change this week. I was able to play with McLaughlin. I think he opened the ice a bit and Jeff Murray on the right wing had a great weekend, too. Playing with those guys was a little bit easier but it’s just sticking with it.”

The Griffs entered last weekend with the second-worst goals-per-game average in the nation at 1.67. They still rank second-last with 1.88 goals per game, but the panic has been minimal since the team has created scoring chances.

“That’s just the way this game goes,” Schmelzer said. “There are good goalies in this league and teams that play good defense. But the thing is we were getting good chances, they just weren’t going in. So it was about sticking with it and keeping that mindset of getting pucks to the net and playing hard.”

The Griffs are off until Dec. 30, having finished up first semester with a 5-3-3 mark in Atlantic Hockey and 6-8-3 overall.

Hall of Fame Honors

Former Griff goaltender Bryan Worosz will be inducted into the Canisius College Sports Hall of Fame. Worosz (2005) is the only goalie in Canisius history to earn first-team All-Atlantic Hockey honors. He was a two-time team MVP who played 110 games from 2001-05. Worosz ranks second in the Division I era with 42 career wins while his 2,771 saves and his 2.82 goals-against average rank third.

The Canisius induction ceremony will be held during the men’s basketball game on Sunday, Feb. 26 in the Koessler Center.

Meanwhile, Clarence native Jeffrey Greene was inducted into the SUNY Oswego Athletic Hall of Fame on Nov. 5. A defenseman for Oswego from 1984-88, Greene was a second-team All-America selection and an All-State University of New York Athletic Conference first-team honoree. He finished with 52 points (16 goals, 36 assists) in 117 games and made three NCAA Tournament appearances.

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