A Hot Start for Canisius Golden Griffins NCAA Ice Hockey

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I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Canisius Head Coach Trevor Large about his teams’ success in the first half of the regular season. Coach Large is in his first year as head coach of the team, being promoted from the Assistant Coach position in the off-season.

I had asked him how long it took to get comfortably adjusted to the new spot and if he changed the culture around the team at all.

“I felt comfortable immediately,” Large said of his Buffalo-based NCAA Division-I AHA team. “I know the players and the other members of the Canisius community. The culture has not changed. My goal from the beginning was to maintain and continue improving the current culture. We believe in being positive, competitive and team-first.

“Those are non-negotiable for all members of the program,” coach Large said. “Our culture drives all of our success. We believe in each other. There is nothing more important.”

To this point the Golden Griffins are currently sitting in first place in the Atlantic Hockey Conference with 20 points in 14 league games (10 wins and four losses).

Overall, they are 10-5-1 and ranked 29th in the USHO/Pairwise Rankings and are off to one of the school’s best starts in over a decade.

Coach Large said their was three factors that were the main reason to his teams success in the first half of the season: “One, we have a great group of returning players. They drive our culture and expectations. Two, the depth of our lineup is filled with speed, skill and compete. Three, our positive culture drives our results. We have a team that plays together and believes in each other.”

A key member of that returning core is junior forward Dylan McLaughlin who is currently tied for third in the nation with 25 points while on pace to nearly double his total from last year of 33.

“He committed to his game this summer. He worked on his skating and improving his shot,” Large said. “He currently leads the country in points-per-game. His game has gone to a new level. Elite skater, high-end play-making ability and now with a big-time shot. He’s a consistent difference-maker for us every game.”

Canisius also currently has one of the most efficient offenses in the country, tallying 3.69 goals per game (4th), a 26% power-play percentage (4th) and a 12.6% shooting percentage (3rd).

“We have a puck-possesion mindset,” Large said. “We trust our players to make a play when it’s time to be creative. We activate our defensemen on rushes and they are a huge part of our offensive zone play. Our concentration is on creating scoring chances with a great net presence. Our team has speed with skill and they are playing with a ton of confidence right now. They expect to score.”

The Griffins are heading into the second half with four non-conference games in hand which are the first four games on their schedule to come out of the holiday break. Cornell and Clarkson could prove to both be crucial games down the road when the seasons winds down and tournament-time comes.

I had asked coach Large what positives from the first half of the season he was hoping his team would carry into the second half: “We have learned recently what it takes to sweep on the road and at home. It requires a massive effort from every player and every play. Carrying forward the team-mentality of being battle-ready for every game is going to be our challenge. We know how to win games a lot of different ways. That confidence is our biggest positive we need to hold on to going forward in the second half of the season.

“Expectations are high,” Large, a Brampton, Ontario native who excelled under Bob Daniels at Ferris State, said.


Republished with permission from Cawlidge Hawckey Insider


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