Canisius vs. Manhattan
March 22, 2008
The Game Story:
The Canisius College men’s lacrosse team improved to 2-0 in MAAC play with a 10-5 victory over Manhattan at the Demske Sports Complex.

“I thought our defense played fantastic today,” said Canisius head coach Randy Mearns. “It seemed like we were on defense 75 percent of the time and we just played so well in terms of one-on-one matchups, slide packages and doubling the ball. We did a good job of keeping (Manhattan’s leading scorer) Marc LaBelle scoreless. Also, Chris Courteau made some big saves at key times.”

Senior Chris Courteau once again put up a strong effort in net, stopping 10 shots to earn his second-consecutive victory. The defensive unit forced 21 Manhattan miscues and the Griffs held a 32-25 advantage in ground balls. Sophomore Matt Barkas (pictured) matched a career high with seven ground balls and added two caused turnovers.

“We also did a decent job at the faceoff X,” Mearns said. “We transitioned the ball well. Unfortunately, we didn’t bury the opportunities. Once settled, we ran the offense well and had very good looks.”

Three different players tallied four points to lead the Griffs offense. Freshman Adam Jones scored a team-best three goals and added an assist, while senior Tom Hensel and freshman Nick LoCoco each recorded one goal and three assists. Sophomore Michael Benzinger scored two goals, while senior Michael Blocho, sophomore Tim Rowley and freshman Greg Michael each netted a goal. Rowley and Michael’s goals were the first of their careers.

With the game knotted at two in the second quarter, Canisius (2-3, 2-0 MAAC) would score the next four goals to take the lead for good. Blocho scored off of a feed from LoCoco and then LoCoco added another goal to give the Griffs a 4-2 halftime advantage. Canisius then took control of the game by scoring two goals in an 11-second span during the third period. Jones scored his first goal of the game on an extra-man opportunity and Benzinger added a goal to stretch the Griffs’ lead to four.

The Jaspers (1-4, 0-2 MAAC) tallied the next two goals to pull within two, 6-4, but Canisius would respond with three-consecutive goals to put the game out of reach. Michael and Rowley scored their first collegiate goals to start the run and Jones also added a score en route to the victory.

“At the end of the day, we have to prepare for Saint Joseph’s,” Mearns said. “It is a big game and they are a very talented squad. We have a week to prepare and we will have to bring our A game in order to win.”

The Griffs return to action next Saturday, facing Saint Joseph’s in a key MAAC game. The Canisius road contest is set to begin at 1 p.m.

Game Notes: The home team has won eight of the last nine games in the series … The Griffs have won their last 10 conference games at the Demske Sports complex, a streak that dates back to the 2005 season … Canisius held LaBelle without a point … Blocho is now seven points shy of becoming the 14th Griffs to record 100 points.