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Canisius men’s lacrosse hosts Albany on Tuesday


BUFFALO – Canisius men’s lacrosse makes its highly-anticipated home debut Tuesday as it faces No. 8/9 Albany in a 4 p.m. contest at the Demske Sports Complex.

The Griffs were expected to play their first contest at home against Marist on Saturday, but the effects of Winter Storm Stella forced the contest to be moved indoors to the Pinnacle Athletic Campus in Victor.

Canisius (3-3) makes its home debut Tuesday looking to build upon its 17-6 victory over Marist in its MAAC opener Saturday at the Pinnacle Athletic Campus in Victor. Junior Connor Kearnan leads the Griffs in goals (15), assists (13) and points (28). He ranks in the top 15 nationally in both points (12th) and assists (13th) per game while sitting in the top 30 in goals per contest (27th). Senior Jeff Edwards is second on the team in scoring with 17 points. Edwards became just the 19th player in program history to reach the 100-point plateau for his career with his four points against the Statesmen Tuesday. Junior Liam Ganzhorn has started all six games in goal for the Griffs. He sports a .467 save percentage and a 11.78 goals against average in those contests. Canisius has made the most of its man-up situations this season as it ranks second nationally in man-up offense (.600). The Griffs, who are 9-of-15 with the extra attacker this season, were 4-of-6 in extra man opportunities in their 17-6 victory over Marist on March 18.

Junior Connor Kearnan recorded his fourth hat trick of the season to pace a potent Griffs attack as Canisius defeated Marist, 17-6, in its Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opener March 18 at the Pinnacle Athletic Campus in Victor. Canisius never trailed in the contest, scoring the first five goals of the game to build a commanding lead early before using a 6-1 surge in the fourth quarter to put the game away. The 17 goals scored by Canisius matched its season high in that category, set against Cleveland State on March 4. The Griffs were 4-for-6 in man-up situations while Marist was just 1-of-4 with the extra attacker. Junior Ryan McKee pitched in five points on two goals and three assists while senior Jeff Edwards dished out three assists. Senior Lewis Vaccaro, sophomore Mario Caito and freshman Lex Oakes chipped in two goals apiece. Junior Liam Ganzhorn picked up his third victory of the season in goal for Canisius, making nine saves in the win.

No. 8/9 Albany (4-1) enters Tuesday’s matchup riding a four-game winning streak after falling in its season opener to then-No. 6 Syracuse, 10-9. Junior Connor Fields paces a high-powered Great Danes attack that ranks second in the nation in scoring offense (15.8) as he leads the squad in goals (18), assists (19) and points (37). Fields, member of the Tewaaraton Watch List, leads the country in points per game (7.4) and ranks second in both goals (3.6) and assists (3.8) per contest. Senior Bennett Drake is second on the squad in points (15) while junior Justin Reh ranks third (14). Reh is first in the nation in shooting percentage as his 12 goals this season have come on just 20 shots. In goal, junior JD Colarusso has started all five games for the Great Danes. Colarusso ranks second nationally in saves per game (13.8) and is in the top 10 in both goals against average (7.61/8th) and save percentage (.657/3rd).

Canisius and Albany meet for the fifth time in the last six seasons on Tuesday as the two Empire-State schools renew their rivalry after taking break in the series during the 2016 campaign. The series has been dominated by the road team as all four previous matchups have been won the away squad. In their most recent matchup, the Great Danes recorded a 26-6 victory over the Griffs at the Demske Sports Complex on March 17, 2015. Canisius earned the program’s first-ever win against a nationally-ranked school with a 13-10 victory at No.13 Albany on March 25, 2014.

Junior Connor Kearnan has been named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week, league officials announced Monday. The honor marks the second time this season that Kearnan has been recognized. The Courtice, Ontario, product was named MAAC Offensive Player of the Week on Feb. 20 after a nine-point performance in the Griffs’ season-opening victory over Dartmouth. Kearnan tallied six goals and four assists in helping guide Canisius to a 1-1 record last week. He tallied six points (3g, 3a) in an 18-11 setback to Hobart on March 14 and followed that performance with three goals and one assist in a 17-6 victory over Marist in Canisius’ MAAC opener on March 18.

Canisius gets a chance to improve its record against nationally-ranked competition when it hosts No. 8/9 Albany on Tuesday. Since the 2004 campaign, the Griffs have played 23 games against ranked competition, compiling a 1-22 mark in that time frame. Canisius’ one win against a ranked school in that time frame came in 14-10 triumph against No. 13 Albany on March 25, 2014 in Albany. The Griffs are taking on their second ranked opponent of the 2017 season. Canisius fell at then-No. 1 Denver, 12-0, in the second game of the Pioneer Faceoff Classic on Feb. 26.

Canisius returns its focus to MAAC play Saturday when it travels to Manhattan for a 1 p.m. matinee with the Jaspers.