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Canisius hockey heads west to battle Air Force

Air Force -- gunning for the Griffins.

blog by BuffaloDotCom  • 

The 2011-2012 Atlantic Hockey schedule started well for Canisius—the Golden Griffins recorded a 3-1 home win over archrival (and the defending conference champ) RIT.  The road doesn’t get much easier this weekend, however, and it does get substantially longer.  The Griffs (1-2-0 overall, 1-0-0 in Atlantic Hockey) travel to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado for a Saturday matchup with the Falcons (3-2-1, 2-0-0). 

The good news about the long trip?  Canisius is one of only two Atlantic Hockey schools with a winning record at Air Force since the Falcons joined the league, going 3-2-3 at the Cadet Ice Arena. Air Force has won nearly 80 percent of its games (50-10-7) against AHA schools other than Canisius and Mercyhurst at home.

Air Force is red-hot, though.  The Falcons are unbeaten in their last four games (3-0-1) and are perfect in league contests this season with victories over Niagara and Robert Morris.  The Air Force attack is led by junior Kyle DeLaurell (5g, 4a) and the aptly-named freshman Cole Gunner (2g, 7a) while goaltender Stephen Caple has started the last four games in net for the Falcons.  The senior has posted a 1.70 goals against average with a .925 save percentage.

The Griffs have a pretty good goalie of their own, though—after anchoring the Canisius defense to a win against RIT, senior Dan Morrison was honored as Atlantic Hockey Goaltender of the Week.  Morrison stopped 33-of-34 shots, holding the Tigers off the scoreboard for the final 55:41 of the contest.  The weekly accolade is the fifth for Morrison during his career.

Sophomore Kyle Gibbons currently leads the Griffs with three points and two goals, while tied for the team lead with a +2 rating.  He recorded 23 points, 10 goals and 13 assists as a rookie last season. His 10 goals were tied for the most among all returning Griffs.

Canisius will return home next weekend for a pair of games against visiting Bentley.  The puck drops at 6:05 p.m. on Saturday and 2:05 p.m. Sunday at the Buffalo State Ice Arena.

TAGGED: air force, atlantic hockey association, canisius griffins, dan morrison, kyle gibbons, on the road

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