After winning the program’s first conference championship, the Canisius College hockey team earned a number of honors on Monday. First, the team made its way into the national rankings for the first time in the program’s history. In addition, juniors Kyle Gibbons and Tony Capobianco and freshman Ralph Cuddemi swept the weekly Atlantic Hockey honors.
The Griffs have won a program-record eight-straight games en route to the conference championship, which is also the longest active winning streak in Division I. With its recent success, Canisius is now ranked 20th in the USCHO.com national poll, marking the first time in the school’s history that the Griffs are ranked.
Gibbons collected Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week honors after leading the Canisius offense to the league’s title. The junior collected Tournament MVP honors after posting six points, two goals and four assists during the weekend. Gibbons recorded a pair of assists in Friday’s 5-3 victory over top-seeded Niagara before setting a career high with four points on two goals and two assists in the championship win versus Mercyhurst.
The Westlake, Ohio native leads Canisius with 42 points, 20 goals and 22 assists during his junior campaign. He also leads all players in the country with 17 points during the month of March, while his 34 points since the start of 2013 are the most nationally. Overall, Gibbons ranks 24th nationally with 1.02 points per game and 20th with 0.49 goals per game.
Capobianco anchored the Canisius defense to the title run by recording 75 saves during the two wins in Rochester and was named the Atlantic Hockey Goaltender of the Week on Monday. Overall, the junior netminder finished with a tournament-record 235 saves in six games, posting a 1.99 goals against average and .951 save percentage.
During the 2012-13 campaign, Capobianco has been among the best goalies in the country. He ranks 12th nationally with a .930 save percentage, while placing 27th with a 2.35 goals against average.
Cuddemi played an instrumental role in the Griffs’ 7-2 win against Mercyhurst in the championship game and earned Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Week honors on Monday. The freshman recorded the first multi-goal game of his career with two tallies in the winning effort. He scored both of his goals in the second period as Canisius surged to a 4-1 lead after 40 minutes of play.
The Concord, Ontairo native has now recorded nine points, four goals and five assists during his freshman season at Canisius.
Canisius now turns its attention toward the NCAA Tournament where the Griffs are set to face top-seeded Quinnipiac. The schools are set to meet on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. with the game shown live on ESPN3.