Canisius (16-11-7, 15-7-6) vs. Sacred Heart (13-17-6, 10-12-6)
Dates: Friday, March 13 – Sunday, March 15
Times: 7:35 p.m. / 7:35 p.m. / 5:05 p.m.
Location: Buffalo, N.Y. / HARBORCENTER
TV/Webcast: America One Network
Live Audio: GoGriffs.com
DI Series History: Canisius leads, 24-19-6
The second-seeded Canisius hockey team begins its quest for an Atlantic Hockey Championship with a matchup against eighth-seeded Sacred Heart in a best 2-of-3 quarterfinal series. The schools are set to meet on Friday and Saturday at 7:35 p.m. at HARBORCENTER and on Sunday (if necessary) at 5:05 p.m.
SCOUTING THE GRIFFS
• The Griffs (16-11-7, 15-7-6 AHC) matched the program’s best finish in Atlantic Hockey, earning the two seed for the tournament.
• Junior Ralph Cuddemi and sophomore Shane Conacher lead the Griffs with 36 points. Cuddemi has also netted a team-best 21 goals, while Conacher has a team-leading 26 assists.
• Keegan Asmundson has anchored a strong Canisius defense with a 2.09 goals against average and .926 save percentage.
AHC QUARTERFINAL PREVIEW
• Canisius earned a bye in the postseason tournament for the first time since 2010 and is set to host the eighth-seeded Pioneers.
• Sacred Heart advanced to the quarterfinals after sweeping ninth-seeded Army last weekend (2-0 and 5-2).
• The Pioneers took 3-of-4 points from Canisius in November this season.
• The four advancing teams in the quarterfinals will be reseeded next weekend for the league’s semifinals against Rochester.
GRIFFS FLEX DEFENSIVE STRENGTH
• The Griffs’ defense carried the team to the second seed this year.
• Canisius is allowing just 2.14 goals per game in conference action during the 2014-15 campaign, the lowest total in Atlantic Hockey.
• Overall, Canisius is allowing just 2.35 goals per game, which ranks 19th nationally and is slightly better than the school record of 2.42 – set during the 2012-13 season.
NEW YEARS RESOLUTION
• The defense has been especially strong since the turn of the calendar.
• In 15 Atlantic Hockey games since the new year, Canisius has allowed just 25 total goals (1.67 per game).
• Overall, Canisius’ 1.67 goals allowed per game is the fourth-best mark in the nation since the Griffs’ run began on Jan. 9.
CANISIUS – SACRED HEART SERIES HISTORY
• In 49 meetings between the two schools, Canisius holds a 24-19-6 advantage in the series.
• Canisius has had the better of Sacred Heart as of late, going 8-2-2 against the Pioneers in the last 12 meetings.
• The Pioneers, however, claimed 3-of-4 points against the Griffs earlier in the season in Milford. Sacred Heart won the opener, 3-2, before the schools played to a 4-4 draw in the finale.
• The teams are also meeting for the second-straight postseason. Last year, the Griffs cruised to a first-round victory, not allowing a goal in a sweep with 3-0 and 5-0 victories.
• The schools also met in the 2002 MAAC Quarterfinals – won by Sacred Heart, 3-2, in overtime.
ABOUT THE PIONEERS
• Sacred Heart enters the weekend with a 13-17-6 overall record. The Pioneers finished eighth in the regular-season standings with a 10-12-6 Atlantic Hockey mark.
• The Pioneers have won four-straight games and are 7-2-3 in their last 12 contests. The four-game winning streak is the longest for the team since the 2009-10 season.
• Zach Luczyk leads Sacred Heart with 26 points on 11 goals and 15 assists. Jordan Minello is right behind with 25 points, including a team-best 14 goals.
• Alex Vazzano has started 21 games for the Pioneers in net, posting a 9-10-3 record, 2.53 goals against average and .918 save percentage.