Canisius searches for the elusive weekend sweep as players find their niche

The weekend sweep has been elusive for Canisius.

Last season the Golden Griffins had just one regular season sweep — taking both games against Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. This season the Griffs started with a pair of splits, winning the first night against both Western Michigan and Army while dropping the second game.

But it’s early in the season and while the results are important for Canisius coach Dave Smith, so too is the quality of play.

“There’s different kinds of losses, “Smith said. In Saturday’s 3-0 loss at Army, “I liked our effort. I liked our focus. I didn’t the result. And as long as the effort and focus is there, I think we’ve continued to learn the challenge of sweeping but it wasn’t as though it wasn’t a purposeful game. We played hard. We played well. We just didn’t play well enough to win.”

Nolan Sheeran, a native of East Amherst who played for the Buffalo Jr. Sabres and Williamsville North, recorded three points in his second career game. He scored the game-winning goal and picked up two assists for the Griffs in their 6-4 win Friday at Army.

He is the first Griff in the DI era to record a three-point game in one of his first two career starts. Vincent Scarsella (St. Francis) recorded a three-point night in his third career game in 2007.

Nolan Sheeran

Nolan Sheeran

“At first it was definitely a big adjustment moving to the college level but I think I’ve been adapting pretty well,” Sheeran said. “For the most part it’s just the speed in college. Everyone’s a lot bigger, a lot faster, they’re all older. I’m just adapting to the speed and the strength of everybody.”

He may be adjusting to the college game, but he’s fitting in just fine with the Griffs.

“When I first came I was pretty nervous with so many seniors and a lot of older guys,” Sheeran said. “I wasn’t sure how I was going to be treated, I guess. But everyone’s been great here. The team’s already family. We’re already getting along.”

The team chemistry is beginning to take place as the veterans learn new responsibilities and the freshmen step into the college game.

“I feel like people are starting to learn their new roles,” said junior Ralph Cuddemi, who netted his first career hat trick on Friday. “Everyone’s trying to figure out what they can bring to the team, see what they’re good at and what they need to work on and what best fits for the team overall. I think we’re in a good position right now. We’re working together, we’re getting better every game it looks like. I like what’s going on right now.”

The Griffs head to Springfield, Mass., for an Atlantic Hockey weekend series with American International.