Check out head coach Rick Gotkin‘s take on tonight’s matchup…
Atlantic Hockey Association semifinals
No. 1 Mercyhurst (21-12-7) vs. No. 7 Canisius (18-20-3)
When: Today, 4:05 p.m.
Where: Blue Cross Arena – Rochester, N.Y.
On the air: www.americaonesports.com (live stream), www.hurstathletics.com (real-time statistics), wmce.mercyhurst.edu (live audio)
What to expect: Mercyhurst returns to Rochester for the conference’s final four for the third straight season. The Lakers lost to Air Force 5-2 in the 2012 semifinals. They followed a 4-1 semifinal win over Connecticut in the 2013 semifinals with a 7-2 loss to Canisius in the championship game. … The top-seeded Lakers reached the semifinals with a two-game sweep of No. 8 Holy Cross, which included their first come-from-behind win of the season and first overtime victory since December 2012, in the best-of-three quarterfinal series last weekend at Mercyhurst Ice Center. … The winner of today’s game meets the winner of the second semifinal between No. 5 Robert Morris and sixth-seeded Niagara in Saturday’s 7:05 p.m. championship game. … The Lakers are unbeaten in their last eight games (6-0-2). … They lost two of three games to Canisius in the regular season. Mercyhurst lost only four AHA games overall. … Canisius has won three of the last four meetings and four of the last six with the Lakers. … These rivals have split their last eight playoff matchups. … Junior F Matt Zay (17 goals, 25 assists, 42 points) and senior F Daniel O’Donoghue (14-27-41) are Mercyhurst’s first tandem to reach the 40-point mark since Steve Cameron, Scott Pitt and Matt Pierce in the 2008-09 season. The Lakers have 10 players with at least 20 points and 14 with double-digit points. … Junior G Jimmy Sarjeant is unbeaten in AHA play (14-0-5). … Freshman D Philippe Drouin (upper body) remains out of the lineup. … Canisius advanced to the semifinals by shutting out 10th-seeded Sacred Heart in both games of their first-round series, and then rallying to upset second-seeded Bentley in a three-game quarterfinal series. The Golden Griffins rallied from a 4-1 deficit to beat Bentley 5-4 in double overtime in Game 2, and then won 3-2 in Game 3. … They have rebounded from a 1-4-1 record to end the regular season. … Senior F Kyle Gibbons leads the team with 15 goals and 37 points. … Junior F Mitch McCrank has 14 points in his past 15 games, including all three goals in the Game 3 win over Bentley. … Sophomore F Ralph Cuddemi, a former Erie Otters draft pick, is second on the team with 28 points (13 goals, 15 assists). … Senior G Tony Capobianco has a 2.75 goals-against average and .916 save percentage.
– Victor Fernandes
Atlantic Hockey Association Tournament schedule
at Blue Cross Arena – Rochester, N.Y.
Semifinals – Today
No. 1 Mercyhurst (21-12-7) vs. No. 7 Canisius (16-20-3), 4:05 p.m.
No. 5 Robert Morris (19-18-5) vs. No. 6 Niagara (17-19-5), approximately 1 hour after first game
Championship game – Saturday
Mercyhurst-Canisius winner vs. RMU-Niagara winner, 7:05 p.m.
Note: The champion earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Tournament. The 16-team field will be unveiled Sunday at noon on ESPNU.