Canisius vs. Robert Morris
Atlantic Hockey Semifinal
4:30 p.m., Friday
Blue Cross Arena, Rochester
1. The Griffs are on a roll. Canisius brings a 17-game unbeaten streak into the game, going 14-0-3 in that span. The streak has earned the team its first national ranking since the final poll of the 2012-13 season. Canisius was ranked 20th in the latest USCHO.com poll. This marks the fourth appearance in the conference semifinals in the last five years for the Griffs.
2. Defense has been the key for Canisius. It starts in goal with Charles Williams, a Top 10 Finalist for the Hobey Baker Award and a semifinalsit for the Mike Richter Award. He leads the nation in save percentage (.946), is tied for first in shutouts (six) and ranks second in goals against average (1.75).
3. The Griffs have found offense. It took some time for Canisius to find its offensive groove. They averaged just 1.84 goals a game through their first 19 games. But in their last 19 games, the Griffs are averaging 3.68 goals a game. Sophomore Dylan McLaughlin continues to leads the Griffs in scoring with 32 points (14 goals, 18 assists) recording 23 points (10 goals, 13 assists) during the Griffs' unbeaten streak. Junior Ryan Schmelzer is second on the team with 30 points (12 goals, 18 assists).
4. And the winner is. Canisius took home several major Atlantic Hockey awards. Williams along with being the league's Goaltender of the Year was the Player of the Year. Schmelzer earned Best Defensive Forward honors while Cameron Heath shared the Defenseman of the Year award with Lester Lancaster of Mercyhurst University. Dave Smith earned Coach of the Year honors after the Griffs took the regular season title. The team was picked ninth in the preseason coach's poll.
5. Robert Morris has impressive offense. The Colonials, on a five-game win streak and the fourth seed, has the top three scorers in the conference. Brady Ferguson has 55 points (21 goals, 34 assists) followed by Daniel Leavens (14 goals, 32 assists) and Alex Tonge (19 goals, 23 assists). Robert Morris also has the best power play in the league, clicking at 22.5 percent. Meanwhile their freshman goaltender is no slouch. Francis Marotte is tied for second-best save percentage (.933) and ranks fourth in goals against (2.08).