Canisius vs. Marist
April 5, 2008
The Game Story:
The Canisius College men’s lacrosse team outscored Marist 9-1 in the second half en route to a convincing 12-5 victory over the visiting Red Foxes. With the win, the Griffs matched a school record with its fourth-consecutive victory and remained perfect in MAAC play with a 4-0 record.

“I am most proud of this team for their character and resolve after a tough first half,” said Canisius head coach Randy Mearns. “We didn’t execute as well as we would have hoped in the first half. We had some good looks and their goalie came up with some key saves. In the second half, we went hard on ground balls and did well on transition. We were able to get the momentum and we used that to help extend our lead. This was a nice team win.”

Freshman Nick LoCoco led the Griffs with six points on a career-best three goals and three assists. Senior Tom Hensel (pictured) matched a personal best with five points on a hat trick and a pair of assists. Senior Dave Schaefer and freshman Adam Jones both tallied two scores, while senior Michael Blocho and sophomore Alex Caldiero rounded out the scoring for Canisius.

The Griffs played solid on defense once again, limiting Marist to just five goals on the day. Senior Chris Courteau stopped six shots in goal, including four in the final period of play. Sophomore Matt Barkas picked up five ground balls and led the team with four caused turnovers.

“Holding Marist to five goals and one in the second half is a great accomplishment,” Mearns said. “When we asked our defense to shut the door, they responded. Coach Campbell developed a great defensive game plan that our players were able to execute.”

Canisius (4-3, 4-0 MAAC) struggled in the first half in the offensive zone, as Marist played solid defensively. The Red Foxes (0-10, 0-4 MAAC) scored three of the game’s first four goals to grab a 3-1 lead. Caldiero would tally his second goal of the season to pull Canisius within one and Marist was whistled for an illegal stick, giving the Griffs an extra-man opportunity for three minutes. However, the Griffs were unable to find the back of the net and Marist added another score to seize a 4-2 advantage. Jones would tally his first goal of the game with 1:31 left in the half as the two teams headed into intermission with Marist leading, 4-3.

The Griffs outshot the Red Foxes 20-11 in the opening half of play but Marist’s Ryan Penner recorded eight saves in the first two quarters to limit Canisius to just three goals.

Canisius came out firing in the second half. Hensel and Jones both scored man-up goals to give the Griffs their first lead of the day at 5-4. Schaefer then tallied his first goal and LoCoco followed with a behind-the-back goal to stretch Canisius’ lead to three. Hensel wrapped up the scoring in the third period as the Griffs outscored Marist, 5-0, in the period and headed to the fourth with an 8-4 advantage.

Marist would tally the first goal of the fourth quarter but the Canisius defense would take it from there. The Griffs scored the final four goals of the afternoon to earn their fourth-straight victory.

“Now we need to focus a good non-conference opponent in Robert Morris, who is playing everybody tough right now,” Mearns said. “We have a quick turnaround and we need to try and clean up the little things. We are still trying to put together a full 60 minutes and we are going to try against Robert Morris.”

The Griffs face the Colonials for a non-conference game on Tuesday. Game time is set for 1 p.m. in Moon Township, Pa.

Game Notes: The Griffs tied the school record of four-consecutive wins, set by the 2001 team that opened the season 4-0 … Canisius is 4-0 to start MAAC play for the second time in school history, joining the 2004 squad as the only teams to accomplish the feat … The home team has won 13 of the 15 games in the series, including the last nine games … The Griffs have won their last 12 games when allowing fewer than 10 goals, dating back to the 2005 campaign … Canisius has won its last 11 home conference games, dating back to the 2005 season … Hensel’s first goal of the day was his 50th career goal. The senior has now recorded 73 points on 52 goals and 21 assists during his career.