Canisius’ all-time penalty minutes leader becomes NHL ref

By Nick Veronica

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MacDougall at Canisius

Former Canisius hockey player Peter MacDougall will be one of four new NHL referees next season, according to Scouting the Refs.

MacDougall, 30, graduated from Canisius in 2010 and left as the program’s all-time leader in penalty minutes, scoring eight goals and racking up 398 PIMs in 128 games. The forward was the team captain in his junior and senior seasons.

After Canisius, MacDougall played two years for the Columbus Cottonmouths in the Southern Professional Hockey League. The Lumsden, Saskatchewan native recorded more than 100 penalty minutes in both seasons there.

Pro Hockey News did a story about MacDougall becoming a ref in 2012. Scouting the Refs wrote that MacDougall spent the last three seasons working the ECHL, earning an appearance in the Kelly Cup Finals last season, and also worked some AHL games.

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(I checked for you, MacDougall only picked up a two-minute penalty for boarding during the RIT brawl game)

Starting salary for an NHL ref is reportedly $165,000, while linesmen start at $110,000.



Canisius and Niagara men’s basketball, women’s basketball and hockey all to meet in playoffs

By Nick Veronica

Canisius and Niagara have met in the playoffs plenty of times, but never quite like this.

The Western New York rivals’ three most prominent sports teams – men’s basketball, women’s basketball and ice hockey – will all face each other in the first round of their respective conference tournaments this week.

Never before have all three teams met in the playoffs in the same year, let alone in the same round or weekend. 2011 was the only year Canisius and Niagara met in the postseason in two of the three sports, with Canisius women’s basketball beating Niagara in the play-in round and the Griffs hockey team winning in the semifinals.

The chart below shows the history of their postseason meetings. The teams are 3-3 in men’s basketball while Niagara has never beaten Canisius in a postseason women’s basketball or hockey game.

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This week’s schedule

The Canisius-Niagara women’s basketball game kicks off the entire MAAC Tournament weekend, starting things bright and early Thursday morning with a 9:30 a.m. contest at Albany’s Times Union Center.

[2016 MAAC Tournament brackets]

Canisius (8-12) is seeded eighth and Niagara (5-15) is seeded ninth. Canisius swept the regular-season meetings, winning the road game in overtime. The winner plays No. 1 Quinnipiac at noon Friday.

The men’s basketball teams meet in the play-in round at 7 p.m. Thursday night. Seventh-seeded Canisius (also 8-12) swept both games from Niagara (also 5-15) this year.

The winner faces No. 2 Iona at 9:30 p.m. Friday.

The hockey teams play a best-of-three series this Friday-Sunday. No. 7 Canisius (10-13-5) is the higher seed, so it will host all three games at HarborCenter, with faceoff at 7:35 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 5:05 p.m. Sunday if necessary. 

Canisius took the season series from Niagara (5-18-6, seeded 10th) with a win and a tie. Both games were at HarborCenter.

Atlantic Hockey reseeds teams after the first round, so the next opponent is not yet known. It will either be 1-Robert Morris, 2-Air Force or 3-Holy Cross.

Canisius has already clinched the Battle of the Bridge – the all-sport competition between Canisius and Niagara – for the sixth year in a row. Only regular-season games are included in the competition.

Immediate reactions: Canisius 3, Ohio State 3 (OT) – 10/31/14

[Gameday preview + Live blog]

By Nick Veronica

Ohio State 0 2 1 0 – 3
Canisius 2 0 1 0 – 3

What it means: Canisius tied its HarborCenter opener, but ties don’t get much more exciting than this. The energy in the building was fantastic and helped Canisius to two early goals. The Griffs and Buckeyes traded chances throughout the game and treated a standing-room-only crowd to a fine night of hockey in the Griffs’ beautiful new facility.

Canisius goes to 3-1-1, Ohio State goes to 1-3-1. Canisius coach Dave Smith is now 0-2-1 all time against his alma mater.

Riding Uncle Mo’: Canisius rode a huge wave of momentum to two goals in the first two minutes, with Shane Conacher opening the scoring just 22 seconds into the HarborCenter era and Doug Beck adding another 1:49 into the game. Ohio State coach Steve Rohlik pulled goalie Christian Frey after that (0 saves on 2 shots) and replaced him with Matt Tomkins, who restored order to the crease.

What goes up…: Ohio State took control with two goals in the second period from Matt Johnson and Luke Stork. Referees went to the replay to check on Johnson’s goal, which was called no goal when it first happened. Storm, a right-handed shooter, went far-side with a wrist shot from the top of right circle that beat Keegan Asmundson over his blocker. The shot took a funny bounce off the bar and I thought may have hit both the post and crossbar, but replays showed the puck hit off the back bar and came out.

Trading blows: Canisius took a 3-2 lead late in the third on Jack Stander’s first career goal (and a heck of a pass from Shane Conacher). Ohio State looked to answer with 5:51 to go but the goal was waved off. David Gust tied it with 4:01 to go. Ohio State had the best chance in overtime, when Matthew Weis had Keegan Amundson down but shot of the crossbar with 14 seconds to go.

They said it: Canisius goalie Keegan Asmundson, on the referees going to the replay to review two goals: “It’s like trick-or-treating,” he said. “You never know what you’re going to get.”

Quick hook: Frey lasted only 1:49 before being pulled. He had zero saves on two shots. Matt Tomkins was fantastic in relief, making 26 saves. Asmundson stopped 31 of 34 shots.

Three stars: 3: Jack Stander, Canisius. 2: David Gust, Ohio State. 1: Shane Conacher, Canisius.

Big bro following along:

Stats that were good: Canisius’ penalty kill killed off six penalties against an Ohio State power-play unit that was ranked third nationally.

Stats that were bad: Chris Rumble took three of those penalties.

Next game: Canisius and Ohio State meet again Saturday night at 7:35 p.m.

Live blog: Canisius 3, Ohio State 3 (OT) – from the HarborCenter 10/31/14

[Preview: Ohio State at Canisius]

By Nick Veronica


13.4: Matthew Weis had Amundson down but shot of the crossbar.

47.4: Canisius takes timeout with a faceoff in the D zone.

2:04: A bad change by Canisius gives Ohio State a great chance, but the shot is block. Tomkins comes up big on the other end to stop Doug Jessey.

3:23: No shots for Canisius yet in OT.

END 3: CANISIUS 3, OHIO STATE 3. OT is five minutes sudden death. If no one scores they tie 😦

1:00: Good flow to the game here but no real chances. Looking like OT coming.

4:01: Now Ohio State ties it. David Gust poked in a loose puck. 3-3

5:51: NO GOAL.

5:51: Ohio State answers back. Play under review.

6:37: WOW Shane Conacher pulls a 360 and feeds Jack Stander for his first collegiate goal. 3-2 Canisius.

7:38: Matthew Weis heads to the box for Ohio State, two minutes for holding a Canisius player who could’ve gotten to a loose puck in the neutral zone. Griffs catch a break.

7:56: Chris Rumble takes his third penalty of the night, this time for tripping. He’s due for some gassers at practice tomorrow.

9:05: PP over. Griffs had some nice passes but couldn’t finish. Doug Beck stapled Chad Niddery near the Canisius bench during the man advantage.

11:05:  Griffs to the PP. Justin DaSilva to the box for slashing. Griffs PP is 0 for 2.

13:38: Asmundson robs Christian Lampasso with a left-pad save.

14:33: Griffs kill off another penalty.

16:33: Doug Beck to the box for interference. Sent his guy int0 the post at the end of the play but it look like good, tough defense to me.

17:31: Ohio State with the momentum early. Griffs can’t get out of their zone.


1:57: Great feed from Conacher to Cuddemi, Tomkins with a big pad save. … PP over.

3:02: Griffs to the PP. Matthew Weis two minutes for cross checking.

4:18: Matt Grazen tries a toe drag on a one-on-one but it was far too slow. Griffs and Buckeyes trading chances at a good pace.

6:42: Ohio State ties it after the power play ends. Luke Stork from Darik Angeli and Nick Oddo. 2-2.

7:27: Matthew Weis had the whole net to score into but lost the puck in his skates. Heck of a pass to find him open in front.

8:58: Chris Rumble to the box for the second time tonight, this time for cross checking. He leads the team in penalties.

12:08: After review, referee signals a good goal for Matt Johnson. My initial thought was it hit the back bar. Weird bounce. 2-1.

12:15: OSU’s Matt Johnson with a shot that looked like it went in-and-out or hit the post and crossbar off a half-breakaway. Called no goal, they’ll review.

13:26: Buckeyes have a shot off the post but Griffs holding out so far. Good rotation on the PP for OSU.

14:43: Rigney goes to the box for tripping. OSU has the momentum right now. Big kill coming up for the Griffs.

15:19: Buckeyes getting good pressure but Canisius still keeping the door closed. Bit lackadaisical in the defensive zone.

16:21: Griffs couldn’t even break into the zone on the power play. Easily their worst two minutes so far.

18:21: OSU’s Matt Johnson goes to the box for interference.

18:25: OSU’s Nick Oddo bumps into the linesman after on offsides call and the two tumble to the ice. Griffs student section loves it.

19:13: Logan Roe’s point shot was tipped and almost snuck under Tomkins’ arm, but he makes the save.

20:00: Matt Tomkins back out to start the second for Ohio State.

END 1: CANISIUS 2, OHIO STATE 0. Shots: Canisius 11, Ohio State 9. Power play: Canisius 0-0, Ohio State 0-2.

0:48: Tanner Fritz got open on the doorstep on a 3-on-2 but shot wide. Opening was there. Griffs caught a break.

1:54: Griffs get another kill. OSU power-play scoring on one-in-three tries heading into this game.

2:36: Matthew Grazen with a short-handed 2-on-1, goes upstairs and hits Tomkins in the mask.

3:00: Big left pad save from Asmundson on the PK. Griffs shoot the puck — hard — into their own bench on a clearing attempt. Look out.

3:54: Griffs back to the PK, Logan Roe for high-sticking. Good shot block in front by Stephen Farrell on the delayed penalty.

6:53: Griffs get the kill. Some good point shots from Drew Brevig.

8:17: Ohio State going with a 1-3-1 here. Nothing doing yet.

8:37: OSU’s Nick Schilkey had the top corner but shot into Asmundson’s glove.

8:53: Chris Rumble heads to the box for tripping. Ohio State power play is very good. 5-15 on the year.

Big bro is pumped:

9:17: Great chance in from for Nolan Sheeran, but he can’t dig it out from a bundle of skates. Shots are 7-2 Griffs.

10:35: A breakdown in the neutral zone sets OSU’s Matthew Weis up with a 2-on-1, but his shot is stopped by Asmundson.

10:49: The Griffs have been great in their own zone so far. No one panics with the pucks, players support the puck carrier to set up the breakout. Give Dave Smith credit.

11:20: Man, Ohio State has some little guys on its team. Some big ones, too, but a lot of small ones.

13:32: Buckeyes are not channeling at the blue line. Griffs are walking through and shooting at will. Official shots are 6-0 Griffs, though I could’ve sworn Ohio State had one.

15:52: Ohio State finally has a shot but Asmundson has no trouble with it. Griffs with a 3-on-1 than was broken up.

18:02: Ohio State coach Steve Rohlik has pulled goalie Christian Frey for Matt Tomkins.

18:11: Whoa, Doug Beck adds a second less than two minutes in. 2-0 Griffs, Josh Keilich gets the helper. Ohio State takes timeout. 2-0.

19:38: WOW! Griffs score 22 seconds into the HarborCenter era. Shane Conacher gets the goal from Nolan Sheeran. 1-0.

20:00: Opening faceoff:


7:39 p.m.: Bit of a delay with the microphones for the anthems but they’re through and we’re set to get underway.

7:30 p.m.: Griffs start Shane Conacher-Nolan Sheeran-Ralph Cuddemi Chris Rumble-Doug Jessey Keegan Asmundson. Ohio State goes with Anthony Greco-Tanner Fritz-David Gust Justin Dasilva-Al McLean Christian Frey.

7:20 p.m.: LOUD “Let’s go Griffs” chant from the student section. Last year people didn’t even show up before the game, let alone yell or show excitement.

7:14 p.m.: I’m told 10-12 NHL scouts will be in attendance tonight.

Line charts:

6:31 p.m.: If you’re looking for some pregame reading material, check out today’s Gameday preview blog post.

6:30 p.m.: Welcome to the HarborCenter! We’re about an hour from puck drop. I’ll have updates here throughout the game. Check back for more and follow on Twitter @NickVeronica.

Gameday: Canisius hockey vs. Ohio State 10/31/14

Ohio State at Canisius, 7:35 p.m., HarborCenter

By Nick Veronica

Canisius Golden Griffins: 4-2, 3-1 Atlantic Hockey, 1-1 home. USCHO: not ranked. PairWise: 16. Streak: W2.

Ohio State Buckeyes: 1-3, 0-0 Big Ten, 0-1 road. USCHO: Also receiving votes. PairWise: 40. Streak: L3.

Welcome to the HarborCenter: After years of playing games at Buff State’s orange and black rink, tonight is the first game at the HarborCenter, the $170 million downtown facility across the street from the First Niagara Center. The 1,800-capacity main rink is the Griffs’ home ice. They have their logo in the neutral zone and a pretty snazzy personalized locker room. Take a look:

Why Ohio State for the HarborCenter opener? It’s Canisius coach Dave Smith’s alma mater.

About Ohio State: If you’re wondering how the Buckeyes are still receiving votes in the USCHO poll despite being 1-3, that’s mostly because of who they’ve played. Ohio State split with Providence to open the year and dropped both games of a home-and-home with Miami (Ohio), which is ranked 10th in the country. Being a Big Ten team helps with the voters, too. 

Tanner Fritz leads the team with six points (2g, 4a), Anthony Greco had four goals and Matthew Weis has four assists. Christian Frey (.935 save percentage) and Matthew Tomkins (.887) have each started two games in net.

The Buckeyes are led by second-year coach Steve Rohlik, who played at Wisconsin and was drafted by the Penguins in the eighth round of the 1986 draft.

Series history: Ohio State leads 2-0, winning twice last year in Columbus, 3-0 and 3-1.

Players to watch: Ohio State forward Sam Jardine and goalie Matthew Tomkins were both drafted by Chicago in 2011 (sixth and seventh rounds, respectively). Canisius senior Cody Freeman is tied for 14th nationally with seven points (3g, 4a) and was recently named the NCAA’s second star of the week. Goalie Keegan Asmundson has started five of the Griffs’ six games.

What Canisius needs to do: Stay out of the penalty box. Ohio State has scored five of its eight goals this season on the power play, with Greco and Fritz scoring two each. The Buckeyes power play is tied for third nationally at 33.3 percent (5/15), while Canisius’ penalty kill ranks 46th out of 59 teams at just 73.9 percent (17/23). Stephen Farrell, Logan Roe and Matthew Backhouse has taken three penalties each.

Wild card: Sam Jardine had his arm cut by a skate three years ago and nearly lost mobility of his left hand.

How to follow the game: Go to it / Watch online / Listen online / Follow my live blog, which I’ll have up around 6:30.