Canisius (16-20-3, 11-13-3 AHA) vs. Mercyhurst (21-12-7, 17-4-6 AHA)
Date: Friday, March 21
Time: 4:05 p.m.
Location: Rochester, N.Y. | Blue Cross Arena
TV/Webcast: Time Warner SportsChannel / America One Network
Live Audio: GoGriffs.com
DI Series History: Mercyhurst leads, 27-21-8
In a rematch of the 2013 Atlantic Hockey Championship, the Canisius College hockey team faces top-seeded Mercyhurst in the league’s semifinals. The teams are set to meet in Rochester on Friday at 4:05 p.m.
SCOUTING THE GRIFFS
• Canisius earned the seven seed for the AHA Tournament with an 11-13-3 league record (16-20-3 overall).
• Senior Kyle Gibbons leads Canisius with 37 points, 15 goals, 22 assists and eight power-play tallies this season.
• Senior Tony Capobianco has anchored the defense with a 2.75 goals against average and .916 save percentage.
DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN?
• The Griffs have taken a very similar path to Rochester.
• Just like last season, Canisius earned the seven seed for the AHA Tournament and opened with a sweep against the 10 seed behind a strong defensive effort (Bentley in 2013, Sacred Heart in 2014).
• The Griffs then earned two one-goal victories against the second seed, including one in overtime (Air Force in 2013, Bentley in 2014).
• Canisius is now looking to finish it the same way. In 2013, the Griffs beat top-seeded Niagara and No. 6 Mercyhurst to win their first title.
CRANKING IT UP A NOTCH
• Junior Mitch McCrank has upped his game as of late and capped his strong run with the best game of his career.
• In the last 15 games, McCrank has totaled 14 points (6g, 8a) after recording just seven (1g, 6a) in his first 21 games of the season.
• The junior had the biggest game of his career in the Griffs’ 3-2 win on Sunday. He scored all three Canisius goals and netted the first hat trick of his career to lead the Griffs in the elimination-game victory.
• Senior netminder Tony Capobianco has saved his best for the Atlantic Hockey Tournament during his career.
• In 11 career Atlantic Hockey Tournament contests, Capobianco owns a 10-1-0 record (only loss came in overtime last weekend).
• The senior has registered a 1.92 goals against average, .948 save percentage and three shutouts during the 11 contests.
CANISIUS - MERCYHURST SERIES HISTORY
• Two-long time rivals, the Griffs have played the Lakers more than any other school in the program’s history. In 77 all-time meetings, Mercyhurst holds a 40-28-9 advantage against the Griffs, including a 27-21-8 edge in 56 Division I meetings.
• Friday’s matchup is a rematch of the 2013 Atlantic Hockey Championship Game – a 7-2 Canisius victory. Kyle Gibbons led the Griffs with a career-high four points (2g, 2a) in the win and earned the tournament’s Most Valuable Player honors.
• The schools are meeting for the sixth time overall in the postseason at the Division I level. Mercyhurst defeated Canisius in the 2001 semifinals, 2006 quarterfinals and 2008 quarterfinals, while the Griffs claimed the 2010 quarterfinals and 2013 championship.
• Canisius also won 2-of-3 meetings against the Lakers during the 2013-14 regular season, handing Mercyhurst half of its four conference losses this year.
ABOUT THE LAKERS
• Mercyhurst won the Atlantic Hockey regular-season title with a 17-4-6 conference record. Overall, the Lakers are 21-12-7 this season.
• The Lakers lead Atlantic Hockey and rank fifth nationally with 3.60 goals per game.
• Mercyhurst features five players with at least 30 points. Matthew Zay leads the team with 42 points and 17 goals. Daniel O’Donoghue is second with 41 points, including a team-best 27 assists.
• Jimmy Sarjeant has posted a 2.42 goals against average and .932 save percentage to anchor the defense. He has not lost a game to an Atlantic Hockey opponent with a 16-0-5 record.
AHA TOURNAMENT BREAKDOWN
• Three road teams won last weekend and Mercyhurst was the only top-four seed to advance to Rochester for the tournament’s semifinals.
• Canisius became the lowest-seeded team to win the championship last year at seventh and are looking to repeat that feat again this year.
• The winner of Friday’s matchup between the Griffs and Lakers advances to Saturday’s title game against Robert Morris or Niagara. Canisius went 1-2-0 versus the Colonials this season and 0-2-1 against the Purple Eagles.
Griffs Hockey Faces Mercyhurst in AHA Semifinals
Courtesy: Canisius College Athletics