Hockey, also known as the fastest sport on ice, has been a popular sport in North America for decades. In Canada, where it is the most popular sport, and in the United States, it continues to captivate audiences with its action, physicality, and skill. Canisius College, located in Buffalo, New York, has a rich history in hockey, dating back to the early 1940s. From upsets and winning streaks to record-breaking performances and legendary players, Canisius has had its fair share of memorable moments in hockey. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and relive some of Canisius College’s most historic upsets and wins in hockey.
The Beginning: 1940s and 1950s
Canisius College first established its hockey program in the early 1940s, playing in the then-called Alphagame Ice Arena. The team faced its first significant challenge in 1947 when they played against Niagara University, a rival team with a strong hockey program. Despite facing a much more experienced and skilled team, Canisius pulled off a massive upset by defeating Niagara 1-0. This win marked the beginning of a fierce rivalry between the two teams that continues to this day.
In the 1950s, Canisius saw its first winning streak in hockey, with the team dominating the Great Lakes Collegiate Hockey League (GLCHL). From 1950 to 1954, Canisius won four consecutive GLCHL championships. This winning streak not only solidified Canisius as a powerhouse in college hockey but also laid the foundation for future success.
The Glory Days: The 1960s and 1970s
The 1960s and 1970s were the heydays for Canisius College’s hockey program. Under the guidance of legendary coach Gene Kinasewich, the team went on to win four more GLCHL championships and two national championships in the IA division in 1962 and 1963. Kinasewich, who later went on to coach the Rochester Americans in the American Hockey League, instilled a culture of hard work, discipline, and determination in his players, leading them to unprecedented success.
But it wasn’t just the championships that made these two decades so memorable for Canisius hockey. The team produced several talented players who went on to play in the NHL, including Tony Lashuk, who played for the New York Rangers, and Lee Fogolin, who played for the Buffalo Sabres. These players, along with others, brought national attention to Canisius College’s hockey program, making it a force to be reckoned with in the world of college hockey.
The Upsets: 1980s and 1990s
The 1980s and 1990s saw Canisius hockey continue to surprise and upset more established programs. In 1985, the team faced off against in-state rival Clarkson University and ended their 49-game home winning streak with a 6-6 tie. This result was a testament to the resilience and determination of the Canisius players, who refused to give in to the pressure of playing against such a dominant team.
In 1994, Canisius once again shocked the hockey world by defeating Clarkson in the first round of the playoffs, eliminating the defending national champions from the tournament. This win was a milestone for Canisius hockey as it was their first playoff victory in 15 years. It also highlighted the team’s ability to elevate their game when it mattered the most.
Record-Breaking Performances: 2000s and 2010s
The turn of the millennium saw Canisius hockey produce some record-breaking performances, further cementing their place in college hockey history. In 2006, goaltender Bryan Worosz set a program record for most saves in a game, with 58 saves against the Air Force Academy. His incredible performance helped the team secure a 2-2 tie against a strong opponent.
In 2012, the Canisius hockey team entered the record books once again, this time for the longest unbeaten streak in the program’s history. The team went 21 games without a defeat, including 12 wins, solidifying their position as one of the top teams in the Atlantic Hockey conference.
Continued Success: Present and Future
Today, Canisius College’s hockey program continues to thrive, with a strong record in the Atlantic Hockey conference and regular appearances in the NCAA tournament. The team has produced several notable players, including Cory Conacher, who currently plays in the NHL for the Tampa Bay Lightning. The present and future look promising for Canisius hockey, with new recruits and a dedicated coaching staff driving the team towards further success.
Canisius College’s hockey program has had a storied history, filled with memorable moments and achievements. From upsetting top teams to record-breaking performances, the Canisius hockey team has left a lasting impact on the world of college hockey. As the team continues to build on its legacy, fans can look forward to more unforgettable moments on the ice.