Marist Falls to Canisius But Survives to Qualify for MAAC

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Needing a win its regular-season finale to clinch a spot in the 2012 MAAC Tournament, Canisius earned the program's first victory at Marist since 1992 with a 7-5 win on Saturday afternoon. The victory raised the Griffs' MAAC record to 3-3, earning Canisius its first trip back to the conference tournament since lifting the trophy in 2008.

The Griffs, who finish the regular season with a 4-7 overall record, earned the three seed for the MAAC Championship and play Detroit in the semifinals on Friday.

“It is a great win for our program today with it all being on the line to get to the MAAC Championship,” said Canisius head coach Randy Mearns. “Our first goal of the season is now accomplished. I couldn't be happier and more proud of our seniors and proud for our whole team. They showed a lot of resolve and character once again.”

Junior Mike Moran (Orchard Park, N.Y.) set the tone for the Griffs right from the start and continued to dominate throughout the contest from the faceoff X. The junior won 14 of 16 faceoffs in the winning effort (87.5 percent), turning in the best performance by a Griff in the last nine seasons. Moran also collected a career-best 11 ground balls in the tournament-clinching victory.

A trio of seniors led the way on the offensive end for Canisius, helping the Griffs earn a MAAC Tournament bid for the first time in their collegiate careers. Travis Gibbons (Owen Sound, Ontario) netted a game-high three goals, recording the fifth hat trick of his senior campaign. Simon Giourmetakis (Edmonton, Alberta) registered three points on a goal and two assists, while classmate Jimmy Haney (Cicero, N.Y.) also posted multiple points with a goal and an assist.

Freshman Tim Edwards (Jamesville, N.Y.) rounded out the scoring for Canisius with two tallies on the afternoon.

Senior Sean Callahan (Orchard Park, N.Y.) anchored the Canisius defense to the victory. The senior netminder stopped 11 of 16 shots on goal that he faced to backstop the team to the MAAC Tournament.

“It was a complete team effort today,” Mearns said. “Mike Moran was phenomenal on faceoffs. (Seniors) Nico Capron, Brendan Murphy and Ryan O'Hagan along with freshmen Kevin Collins and Adam Donner really held the fort at the poles and the defensive-midfielders were tremendous. Sean Callahan was stellar and net, while Travis Gibbons, Simon Giourmetakis and Jimmy Haney made the most of their opportunities with Tim Edwards having another outstanding performance.

“Coach Burke put in a great defensive game plan that the boys executed and Coach Lalley had the boys prepared offensively. Coach Kawalerski also ran a flawless box and it is just a great day. We now turn our focus to Detroit and hope to continue our strong performances as of late into next week.”

The teams both netted two goals in the first quarter and added a third score early in the second frame for a 3-3 contest. However, the Canisius defense clamped down from there in earning the tournament-clinching win. After Marist knotted the game at three with 11:53 remaining in the second stanza, the Griffs allowed only one tally in nearly 41 minutes of action, including a 29:07 scoreless streak as Canisius built its lead.

Gibbons broke the 3-3 deadlock for the Griffs, completing his hat trick with 10:54 remaining in the second quarter. Gibbons' tally would also give Canisius the lead for good. A 4-3 halftime lead was stretched to three in the third quarter after Haney netted a man-up goal and Edwards netted his first tally of the day for a 6-3 lead after 45 minutes of action.

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