RIT vs. Canisius: College hockey gets real tonight
blog by BuffaloDotCom • October 20, 2011 @ 2:19pm
Enough of the nonsense! Real Division I college hockey starts in Buffalo tonight when the Canisius College Golden Griffins—smarting after a pair of non-league losses to Quinnipiac—begin Atlantic Hockey play against the always-frisky RIT Tigers.
The game begins at 7 p.m. at the Buffalo State Sports Arena and will be televised on Time Warner SportsNet. All fans are encouraged to wear white for Thursday’s game and the first 250 Canisius students will receive a “White-Out” t-shirt.
Maybe we should call Canisius the Baby Griffs—this team is young. Of the 19 skaters to see ice time during the series, 10 made their collegiate debut and gained their first Division I experience. In each game during the weekend, half of the Griffs’ skaters were freshmen (9-18). There are 12 new players on the 2011-12 roster, tied for the most in the country this season with Mercyhurst and Ohio State. Canisius has only two seniors and six upperclassmen to go along with 20 underclassmen.
They are big boys, though! The 12 newcomers have an average height of nearly 6-2. A small team in the past few seasons, Canisius added two inches in its average size to its roster this year. The average Griff is now 6-1, compared to 5-11 last season. Only eight (of 26) Griffs are shorter than 6 feet in 2011-12, compared to 14-of-26 last season.
After losing 12 letter-winners from the 2010-11 squad (who accounted for 53.6 percent of the team’s goals and 51.7 percent of its points, including the top two scorers in the program’s history in Cory Conacher—147 career points—and Vincent Scarsella—133 points), senior Scott Moser and junior Preston Shupe are now the top returners in active points with 49 each. By comparison, Conacher averaged 47.5 points during each of his last two seasons.
In a series that dates back to the Griffs’ inaugural season of 1980-8, RIT holds a 44-10-1 advantage in 55 all-time meetings between the two schools. Since RIT moved to Division I before the 2005-06 season, the Tigers own a 14-4-0 edge in the series and have won the last eight meetings. The eight-game losing streak is the longest for Canisius against any single team in the program’s Division I history.
The Griffs last defeated the Tigers on Feb. 10, 2008, a 5-4 victory in Buffalo. No current Canisius player has earned a victory against RIT, The Tigers’ Cameron Burt is the current Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week after posting five points, two goals and three assists in a 6-5 overtime victory against St. Lawrence on Saturday.