The Griffs came back to Buffalo in the early hours of last Sunday morning. We were given Sunday and Monday off for rest and recuperation. The boys spent this time catching up on sleep, watching football and tackling the never-ending amounts of homework.
It was the first full week of classes in a few weeks for the Ice Griffs as we have spent the past weeks hitting the road early on Thursdays. Luckily for us, the teachers here at Canisius are very cooperative when it comes to us missing class for road trips, as long as we keep up on our work. We are also fortunate to have a few geniuses on our team - such as Matt Zuke and myself - that can tutor some of the boys on the road.
We started our week of practice on Tuesday with a tough day of battle drills to get us back into the fire after a couple of idle days. The team held two more practices over the week with the focus on high tempo and hard work within our systems. We knew we would be in for a tough weekend with a hard-working opponent, Army, coming to town and that we would have to match or exceed their effort level to be successful.
Friday night, the Griffs came out of the gate flying as we got on the scoreboard early with two quick goals from freshman Kyle Gibbons, who has found a scoring touch early in his career. With great play in net from Dan Morrison, we managed to keep the Black Knights off the scoreboard for the rest of the game, while we netted two more goals for the win. It was great to get a win in our home opener, as we want to make winning at home a habit.
Saturday night, as predicted, the Black Knights came out with something to prove as they scored two quick goals. The Griffs battled back hard for the remainder of the game, but the first period would come back to haunt us as we only scored one time. The very valuable lesson on Saturday night that we learned is we cannot take any minutes, or even seconds, off during the game, no matter how confident we feel.
It was great to see the fan turnout over the weekend, as we saw many students, people from the community, and family members show their support. I, personally, had some very special visitors from northern New Brunswick, as my family drove 15-long hours to watch the Griffs play. It's always great to see players' parents in town. Hockey moms and dads are some of the most dedicated people around, as the years of early-morning practices and weekends filled with road trips left them with little time for themselves. In case they don't already know, we all greatly appreciate it.
It was not the ideal turnout we wanted this weekend, but we learned our lesson and know what we now need to do to be successful. We do not have much time to dwell over the loss, as we have a huge game coming up on Tuesday night against our biggest rival, the Niagara Purple Eagles.
See you at the rink,
Scott Jenks, #3