Canisius (17-18-5, 12-13-2 AHA) vs. Niagara (23-8-5, 20-5-2 AHA)
Atlantic Hockey Semifinal
Date: March 22, 2013
Time: 4:05 p.m.
Location: Rochester, N.Y.
Rink: Blue Cross Arena
TV: Time Warner SportsChannel
Having won its last six games, including four-straight in the postseason, the Canisius College hockey team now turns its attention toward local rival Niagara in the Atlantic Hockey Semifinals. The Griffs and Purple Eagles are set to meet in Rochester on Friday at 4:05 p.m.
SCOUTING THE GRIFFS
• Canisius finished the regular-season in seventh place in the Atlantic Hockey standings with a 12-13-2 mark. The Griffs are 17-18-5 overall.
• The Griffs are coming off a two-game sweep at second-seeded and two-time defending champions, Air Force.
• Junior Kyle Gibbons – a third-team All-Atlantic Hockey selection, leads the Griffs with 36 points, 18 goals and 18 assists this season.
• Junior Tony Capobianco has anchored the nation’s 11th-ranked defense with a 2.35 goals against average and .929 save percentage.
ATLANTIC HOCKEY TOURNAMENT REVIEW
• The Griffs are the lowest remaining seed in the AHA Tournament, playing top-seeded Niagara after eliminating No. 2 Air Force.
• No. 4 Connecticut and No. 6 Mercyhurst are meeting in the other semifinal on Friday night.
• During the regular-season, Niagara won 2-of-3 games against the Griffs with neither team scoring more than two goals in a game.
• If Canisius advances to the league’s championship, the Griffs swept two games at Connecticut with Mercyhurst winning 2-of-3 games.
PEAKING AT THE RIGHT TIME
• Canisius is currently playing its best hockey of the season and is one of the hottest teams in the country. The Griffs have won each of their last six games, which includes four postseason contests.
• The winning streak is the longest active streak in the country.
• In addition, it is the longest winning streak for Canisius since also taking six straight from Dec. 4, 1999 to Jan. 15, 2000.
GIBBONS EARNS ALL-CONFERENCE HONORS
• Junior Kyle Gibbons earned all-conference accolades on Tuesday, collecting third-team All-Atlantic Hockey honors.
• The junior leads the team with 36 points, 18 goals and 18 assists.
CAPOBIANCO LEADS CANISIUS POSTSEASON RUN
• Junior Tony Capobianco has anchored the Griffs to the four postseason wins this year.
• He owns a .958 save percentage and a 1.74 goals against average in the four playoff wins.
• Against Air Force, the junior recorded 95 saves in a weekend sweep, including a career-best and Griff playoff record 50 stops on Saturday.
• Overall, Capobianco has 160 saves in the postseason (40 saves per game), nearing the Atlantic Hockey Tournament record of 193.
CANISIUS – NIAGARA SERIES HISTORY
• In a rivalry that began in 1997, Niagara holds an 18-9-2 advantage in the all-time series, including a 14-8-2 edge in Division I meetings.
• Since the Purple Eagles joined Atlantic Hockey prior to the 2010-11 season, Niagara holds a 6-3-1 edge in the series.
• Niagara was 2-1-0 against Canisius this season with neither team scoring more than two goals in any single contest. The Purple Eagles earned a 2-1 win in Buffalo in November before each school won a 2-0 home game in February.
• The two rivals have met twice in the postseason – once at the Division III level and once at the Division I level. In the only Atlantic Hockey playoff meeting, the Griffs won a 6-3 game in Lewiston in the 2011 Atlantic Hockey First Round.
ABOUT THE PURPLE EAGLES
• Niagara finished first in the Atlantic Hockey standings with a 20-5-2 conference record. Overall, the Purple Eagles are 23-8-5 during the 2012-13 campaign.
• The team enters the weekend ranked 15th in the USCHO.com poll and 14th in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.
• Ryan Murphy leads Niagara with 35 points on 15 goals and 20 assists this season. Giancarlo Iuorio is right behind with 32 points and a team-best 19 goals despite playing in just 25 games.
• Carsen Chubak has anchored the defense with a 1.81 goals against average and .941 save percentage, posting an impressive 23-5-5 record this season.
• Friday’s contest will pit the top two defensive teams in the league against each other. Canisius currently ranks first with a scoring defense of 2.38 goals per game, while Niagara is second with a defense of 2.44 goals per game.