We kicked off our game-filled week with a trip to the home of Eric Rex in Erie, Pa. to take on the Mercyhurst Lakers. We have developed quite a rivalry with the Lakers over the past few years with every game coming down to the last minute. We knew we would be in for a war on Tuesday night, as the last time we played the Lakers we knocked them out of the Atlantic Hockey playoffs with a heated double-overtime win.
We were more than prepared for the game. However, what we weren't prepared for was the first bit of adversity we had to deal with before even reaching the rink, as one of tires on our bus blew out. Being the son of the owner of a trucking and heavy equipment excavation company, I wish I could tell you folks that I had known exactly what to do and took action, but that wasn't the case. Hopefully my father misses this edition of the chronicle so I still have a job working for him next summer.
Now back to hockey. The game started Tuesday night just as it had ended last season, with high speed back and forth action and with each team landing its fair share of hits. The Lakers found the scoreboard first, but the Ice Griffs showed their first signs of being a resilient team as we battled back to score five goals to take the victory. Winning in this league is never easy, but winning on the road is a much harder task and we are extremely happy any time we can take points away from teams in their own rinks. We took many positives out of the game with one of them being that we have a great deal of depth on our team this year. All lines are not only threatening offensively, but are also responsible defensively.
We got right back to it on Wednesday and Thursday as we hit the ice for two last practices before heading east to New England for a series against the Sacred Heart Pioneers in Milford, Conn. It would be the first and last time we face off against the Pioneers this season as they are in the Eastern Atlantic Hockey Division.
For those of you who are not aware of the new Atlantic Hockey layout, the conference has split up into two divisions. Canisius, Air Force, RIT, Mercyhurst, and newcomers Niagara and Robert Morris are now part of the Western Division, while Army, AIC, Bentley, Connecticut, Holy Cross and Sacred Heart make up the Eastern Division. Each team will play the other teams in their division three times, while only playing teams from the other division twice. Now that we have that cleared up, we can get back to talking about how the weekend went.
We hopped on the bus after practice on Thursday in our hunt for two more wins and four points. Each player finds a different way to pass the time on these long road trips. Most watch movies - "MacGruber" being the favorite on this particular trip - history majors read books, accounting majors crunch numbers, the boys with high-tech phones play nerdy games and Vinny Scarsella and Cory Conacher play "who can be the loudest?"
After skating Friday morning and getting in our essential gameday naps, we took the ice Friday night for our first game of the weekend. The game was filled with ups and downs, but once again the Ice Griffs showed that they could play through adversity and ended up winning, 4-1. The game was not only challenging because of the strong opponent we faced in the Pioneers, but also because of the smaller ice dimensions in the rink as we had to adjust to the spacing.
Saturday night we knew we would be in for a tough game, as Sacred Heart would be looking to make up for the loss in their home opener the night before. We stuck to our systems and worked hard to the last minute, but could only muster a tie as the Pioneers scored an equalizer late in the third period. Our goal was for two wins on the weekend, but we took the next best option with a win and a tie.
A huge thank you goes out to the Canisius women's soccer team for coming to support us on Saturday night and also for the great signs they made. The Ice Griffs also congratulate the girls for their two big wins over the weekend against Fairfield and Iona.
Overall, it was a successful week for the Griffs as we came out of it with two wins and a tie for a solid five-point week. The team is looking strong early on in the season and we hope to only get stronger. We have a very driven and skilled group of young men on the team this season and the general consensus is that the sky is the limit. Canisius is a force to be reckoned with this season.
See you at the rink,
Scott Jenks, #3