The Griffs’ purple pest

By Dominic Chamberlain

Sports Editor

The Canisius College Golden Griffins against the Niagara University Purple Eagles is the marquee rivalry for each school. It’s the matchup everyone, including C-Block, looks forward to. It’s talked about for weeks, circled on calendars, and has made for memorable games in the past.

Sure, St. Bonaventure are rivals, and even the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers draw decent interest when the Griffs collide with them in hockey, but nothing beats the Purple Eagles versus Golden Griffins.

I mean, there’s even a trophy between the two schools: the Canal Cup. It’s more of a mini barrel, but that’s another issue for another day. The Canal Cup has been dominated by the Griffs, who have won seven straight Canal Cups and nine of the last 10. Basically, the Cup (barrel) has been nice and cozy in its trophy case on the main floor of the Koessler Athletic Center for a while.

It doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon, with the Griffs thoroughly out in front of the Purple Eagles in this year’s standings, 19-7. Yes, winning the “Battle of the Bridge” repeatedly must feel nice, but the Purple Eagles certainly haven’t gone down without a fight.

Both the women’s and men’s basketball teams met Niagara twice this regular season and had much tougher competition than the standings implied.

The men’s team never beat their biggest rivals this season, losing to them 91-84 and 94-81. Definitely not how coach Reggie Witherspoon wanted his first two rivalry matchups to go.

The women’s side was more positive, but a little bit scary. After sweeping the regular season series, the Griffs found themselves in overtime in the MAAC Tournament in Albany against their rivals. It was win or go home, and the Purple Eagles came to play. The Griffs ended up prevailing, advancing to the MAAC Quarterfinals.

Perhaps there is a chance to assert dominance in the form of hockey. The Griffs were the hottest team in the conference, and arguably the nation, when the regular season ended, going on a 15-game unbeaten streak that was good enough to claim the team’s first ever Atlantic Hockey title.

They are the team to beat in the tournament, and guess who their first opponent will be: the Purple Eagles. The Griffs dominated their regular season meetings, much like women’s basketball. The Griffs, however, have a Purple Pest that at the very least is resilient and tough, so don’t sleep on our rivals; they may not be done surprising us yet.

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