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2012 MAAC Champions

Fresh off a MAAC Championship in 2008, the men's lacrosse Class of 2012 had high expectations for their careers at Canisius when they first arrived on campus.

Unfortunately, some narrow losses and a little bit of bad luck kept the Griffs from repeating their championship in the next three seasons. Twice, Canisius missed out on qualifying for the MAAC Tournament due to tiebreakers, which included missing out on the 2010 tournament due to a random drawing. Near misses were also the story during the three campaigns as more than half of the team's 11 conference losses were by two goals or less, including four by just one tally.

Halfway through the 2012 season, the 16-member senior class seemed to be going down the same path as their first three years at Canisius but the group saved their best for last lifting, the Griffs to the pinnacle of the MAAC.

The season got off to a rough start with a loss at No. 3 Cornell. Canisius rebounded by earning a strong win at Albany, 13-10. Senior Simon Giourmetakis showed a sign of things to come with an eight-point, six-goal performance against the Great Danes leading the Griffs in their win against the in-state rival.

Canisius returned to Buffalo for a three-game homestand and opened MAAC play against Detroit. The Titans used a late 6-0 run to earn a 17-12 victory over the Griffs, beginning a tough seven-game stretch for the Griffs. Canisius went 1-6 during the run, including a 1-3 record in the MAAC. Giourmetakis proved strong once again in leading the Griffs to their lone victory during the month, netting six goals in an 11-7 win over Manhattan.

A 14-2 defeat at Siena ended the stretch and left the Griffs tied for fifth in the MAAC standings with Manhattan and VMI on the outside looking in to qualify for the four-team conference tournament.

The fortunes turned for Canisius in a Senior Day victory against VMI. The Griffs kept their postseason hopes alive with a 13-11 win over the Keydets to improve to 2-3 against MAAC foes. Canisius entered its final game of the regular season needing at least a win to qualify for its first tournament since 2008.

Determined not to have their careers end, the senior class earned a 7-5 victory at Marist to conclude the regular season. Senior Sean Callahan anchored a strong Canisius defense by recording 11 saves and earning MAAC Defensive Player of the Week honors following the victory. On the offensive end, Giouremtakis plus classmates Travis Gibbons and Jimmy Haney accounted for six of the team's seven goals.

The win, which marked the first for Canisius at Marist since 1992, pulled the Griffs into a tie for second place in the MAAC standings with Detroit, Jacksonville and Marist. The Titans earned the second seed for the conference tournament due to their wins against each of the tied teams, resulting in a three-way deadlock for third. In a new set of tiebreakers (which were not around when Canisius lost a random draw in 2010), the Griffs earned the No. 3 seed due to goals allowed in games among the tied teams, while Marist earned the final spot in the tournament.

Not only did the Griffs have to rally in the regular season to advance to the MAAC Championship but the team also found itself trailing throughout the tournament. A hot goaltender put Canisius in a 5-2 halftime deficit against Detroit in the semifinals but the Griffs responded in the second stanza by outscoring the Titans, 10-5, en route to a 12-10 win. Haney matched career highs with five points and four goals in the rally.

Siena then became all that stood in the way of Canisius earning their second MAAC Championship. Needing to revenge a 12-goal defeat, Canisius found itself trailing at the half, 9-6. Siena, the MAAC's top-ranked offense, had averaged nearly eight goals in a half in the team's two meetings of the season to that point. The Griff defense, however, paved the way for the title by holding the Saints without a goal in the second 30 minutes of play.

On the offensive end, Gibbons netted a man-up goal in the third quarter and Haney scored two tallies in the fourth, the second tying the contest at nine with just 3:29 remaining. Junior Mike Moran won the ensuing faceoff and MAAC Rookie of the Year Tim Edwards netted an unassisted goal with just 1:46 remaining for the team's first lead of the game. The Canisius defense held the lead with Callahan making one final save, as the Griffs earned the 10-9 win.

Haney once again matched his career high with four goals in the winning effort and was named MAAC Tournament MVP after posting nine points and eights goals in the two wins. Callahan and senior long-stick midfielder Brendan Murphy were also named to the MAAC All-Tournament Team.

Earning its second bid to the NCAA Tournament, Canisius drew top-seeded Loyola. After spotting the Greyhounds four goals in the first quarter, the Griffs netted the only three tallies of the second stanza to head into the intermission trailing by just one, 4-3. However, Loyola controlled the second half to earn a 17-5 victory en route to winning its first national championship. Haney continued his strong play at the end of the season, netting the team's first-ever NCAA Tournament hat trick.

Despite the loss to Loyola, the Canisius senior class left its legacy on the Golden Griffin program by carrying the team to its second MAAC Championship. The class accounted for 78.5 percent of the team's goals (95-of-121) and 71.1 percent of the team's points (140-of-197) in addition to three of the team's top four defenders and the starting goaltender.

Giourmetakis and senior defender Ryan O'Hagan both represented Canisius on the All-MAAC First Team, while Edwards earned second-team honors in addition to his MAAC Rookie of the Year award.

2012 Postseason Honors

Sean Callahan Tim Edwards Simon Giourmetakis Jimmy Haney Brendan Murphy Ryan O'Hagan
• MAAC All-Tournament Team • MAAC Rookie of the Year
• All-MAAC Second Team
• All-MAAC First Team • MAAC Champ. MVP
• MAAC All-Tournament Team
• MAAC All-Tournament Team • All-MAAC First Team