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Canisius LAX open MAAC tournament against Marist


BUFFALO – No. 2 seed Canisius begins its quest for a conference crown Friday when it opens the 2017 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Men's Lacrosse Championship with a semifinal matchup versus No. 3 seed Marist.

Opening faceoff between the Griffs (6-8, 4-2 MAAC) and the Red Foxes (9-5, 4-2 MAAC) is set for 7 p.m. at Marist's Tenney Stadium.

No. 2 seed Canisius starts the MAAC Championship with some momentum after wrapping up the regular season with a 10-6 victory over defending champion Quinnipiac April 28 at the Demske Sports Complex. Junior Connor Kearnan continues to pace the Canisius attack, leading the Griffs in goals (32), assists (23) and points (55). Kearnan ranks among the top three players in the MAAC and the top 30 players in the nation in all three statistical categories. Senior Jeff Edwards is second on the team in both assists (18) and points (32). Edwards begins the weekend just two points away from passing former Canisius standout Nick LoCoco (2008-11) for 13th place on the program's all-time scoring list (121). Juniors Ryan McKee (20g, 7a) and Steven Coss (18g, 9a) are tied for third on the team in scoring with 27 points each. The duo ranks ninth and 10th, respectively, in the league in goals per game. Junior Liam Ganzhorn has started all 14 games in goal for the Griffs. Ganzhorn ranks third in the MAAC in goals against average (11.65) and sixth in save percentage (.477). Canisius has truly been a second-half team this season as it has out-scored its opponents by a combined total of 76-65 in the second half of contests this season. The Griffs have been out-scored by a combined total of 87-66 in the first half of games during the 2016-17 campaign.

Canisius used a balanced offense attack and a solid defensive effort to defeat Quinnipiac, 10-6, in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference men's lacrosse action April 28 at the Demske Sports Complex. Senior Lewis Vaccaro and junior Connor Kearnan tallied two goals each for the Griffs (6-8, 4-2 MAAC) while six players – senior Jeff Edwards, juniors Steven Coss and Eric Gold, sophomores Mario Caito and Logan Monroe and freshman Carter Stefaniak – all chipped in one goal each. Canisius led 6-3 at the break before Quinnipiac used a 3-1 spurt to close out the third and trim the Griffs cushion to 7-6. It would remain a one-goal game for a majority of the fourth before Vaccaro provided some breathing room, stretching the Canisius lead to 8-6 with 2:49 remaining. Kearnan and Vaccaro tacked on insurance markers during the final 70 seconds of regulation to determine the four-goal margin of victory. The Griffs out-shot the Bobcats by a 37-27 margin. Canisius held a 24-14 advantage in shots taken during the first quarter. Quinnipiac won 14-of-20 faceoffs contested during the contest. The Bobcats were a perfect 10-for-10 at the faceoff X during the second half.

Canisius is making its ninth trip to the MAAC Championship, having won the title on two previous occasions in 2008 and 2012. Overall, the Griffs are 4-6 all-time in the tournament, including a 2-2 record as the high seed. Canisius has won four of its last six games in the postseason tournament.

The No. 3 seed, host Marist heads into the MAAC tournament looking to build off a thrilling 6-5 come-from-behind victory against Siena in their regular season finale last Saturday at Tenney Stadium. J.D. Recor leads the Red Foxes attack, registering a team-best 44 points on the strength of a league-best 28 assists. Gannon Morrison leads the squad in goals (24) and ranks second in points (34). Morrison is fifth in the MAAC in goals per game (1.85).
- Brian Corrigan has started all 14 games in goal for the Red Foxes this season. He paces the league in save percentage (.619) and is second in goals against average (7.51).

In a series that began during the Griffs' inaugural season of 1990, Marist holds a 14-11 advantage against Canisius. Marist has held the edge in recent contests, winning four of the last five matchups dating back to the 2013 campaign. The road team has won three of the last six meetings and four of the last eight contests. Prior to the current eight-game run, the home team was 14-2 in the series. Canisius won the regular season meeting between the two teams, 17-6, in a neutral-site contest at the Pinnacle Sports Complex in Victor on March 18. Junior Connor Kearnan paced a potent Griffs attack with three goals while fellow junior Ryan McKee tallied two goals and dished out three assists.