The Canisius College hockey team couldn’t maintain its momentum from two early goals in the first three minutes and Sacred Heart fought back for a 3-2 victory on Sunday, handing the Griffs their first home loss of the season. Canisius drops to 8-11-1 and 7-5-1 against league foes, while the Pioneers improve to 6-16-0 and 5-10-1 in Atlantic Hockey play.
“We had a tough time completely seizing the momentum today and there were a couple of key moments where Sacred Heart was able to do it,” said Canisius head coach Dave Smith. “It was a pretty even game where Sacred Heart was able to find a way to win, similar to what we were able to do yesterday. We had better effort and energy today but we just need to have better focus, stay out of the penalty box and find ways to grab momentum throughout the game.”
Senior Ryan Bohrer and sophomore Ralph Cuddemi both scored for the Griffs, while junior Keegan Asmundson took the loss in net with 33 saves.
Canisius wasted no time grabbing the lead, scoring on its first two shots of the game in just 2:50. Cuddemi gave the Griffs the lead just 70 seconds into the contest, connecting on the power play. Senior Kyle Gibbons found the sophomore open in the slot and Cuddemi finished for his seventh tally of the season. Senior defender Ben Danford also registered an assist on the early score.
Bohrer then stretched the Canisius lead to two with his first goal of the season just 1:40 later. On a rush, junior Braeden Rigney had his shot blocked. However, Bohrer gathered the loose puck in the slot, turned and finished for the 2-0 lead just 2:50 into the game.
Sacred Heart made its way back into the game, chipping into the Canisius lead with its first goal of the contest with 1:12 remaining in the first. Jeff Carroll knocked in a rebound off a rush to bring the Pioneers within one after one period of play, 2-1.
The Pioneers were then able to take advantage of a 1:40 of 5-on-3 action, scoring with just two seconds remaining in the two-man advantage. A shot from the point deflected off Will Rayner’s skate and into the net to knot the contest at two just 1:18 into the second.
The game remained knotted at two until the closing minutes of regulation. Josh Phillips wrapped the puck around the boards and a Canisius defender pinched up attempting to keep it in the zone. However, the puck bounced over his stick and resulted in a breakaway for Drew George, who sent a slap shot into the net for the game-winning goal with 3:01 remaining.
Sacred Heart finished the contest with a 36-30 advantage in shots with both teams converting once on the power play (four attempts for Canisius and seven attempts for Sacred Heart).
Andrew Bodnarchuk stopped the final 28 shots he saw for the victory in net.
Canisius is back in action on Saturday, hosting Bentley at 12:05 p.m.
Game Notes: Canisius entered the game as the nation’s lone remaining unbeaten at home with a 4-0-1 record … The loss ended the Griffs’ eight-game unbeaten streak against Sacred Heart (6-0-2) … Canisius lost a game when holding a two-goal lead for the third time this season (had lost two in the last two seasons combined).