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Canisius hockey fares well in final NCAA stats rankings


BUFFALO – With the 2016-17 season now complete, the Canisius hockey program achieved several top-25 rankings among its NCAA Division I counterparts.

Senior goaltender Charles Williams led the nation in save percentage (.943) and was tied for the national lead in shutouts (6). The All-American netminder also ranked second in goals against average (1.82), fifth in saves (1016) and seventh in shots faced (1077).

Junior forward Ryan Schmelzer was tied for ninth nationally with five game-winning goals and finished 21st among all forwards in faceoffs won (410). Freshman Nick Hutchison was tied for second among first-year players in power plays goals (8) and slotted ninth in faceoffs won (275) by a first-year player.  

Sophomore Alex Jaeckle was fourth among defensemen with three game-winning goals during the 2016-17 season, while fellow second-year blue liners Cameron Heath and Jimmy Mazza were tied for 12th with two game-winning goals apiece. Heath also finished the campaign 12th among defensemen in power play goals scored (4).

As a team, the Griffs ranked in the top 10 nationally in penalty kill (87.2/3rd), scoring defense (2.18/5th), goals against (85/6th).

Canisius also posted the second-longest unbeaten streak of the season, going 17 consecutive games between losses from Jan. 13-March 17. Frozen Four participant Harvard turned in the longest stretch of games between defeats this season, with 18.

Canisius (21-11-7) enjoyed an outstanding 2016-17 season that culminated in the program capturing its first Atlantic Hockey Conference regular season title. The Griffs matched the school mark for wins in a campaign and advanced to the semifinals of the Atlantic Hockey Conference Tournament for the fourth time in the last five seasons. Canisius also entered the national rankings for the first time in four seasons, earning the No. 20 spot in the USCHO.com poll for one week in March.