Burlington, Vt. – The Canisius College hockey team fell to 10th-ranked UMass Lowell on Saturday in the first game of the Catamount Cup in Vermont, 5-2. The loss drops the Griffs to 5-9-1 on the season, while the nationally-ranked River Hawks improve to 12-5-0.
“We have a lot of positives that we can build on from this game,” said Canisius head coach Dave Smith. “Lowell was just a little more consistent in its effort and capitalized on a couple of our mistakes. We were close with our play but we didn’t write the story that we were hoping for. Our effort was there against one of the nation’s top teams but we just need to play our best hockey for a complete 60 minutes.”
Senior Taylor Law and junior Cody Freeman both scored for the Griffs in the defeat.
Senior Tony Capobianco recorded 32 saves on the night to anchor the defense.
Canisius opened the scoring thanks to Law’s second goal of the season. The senior, making his first appearance since October, redirected the puck into the back on the power play 6:56 into the contest for the early Griffs lead. Sophomore Stephen Miller and senior Patrick Sullivan each registered assists on the extra-man tally.
UMass Lowell responded though with two goals in the opening period to take a 2-1 lead into the break. Joe Pendenza took the puck to the net off a rush and finished with 8:21 remaining to tie the contest. A.J. White then gave the River Hawks the lead with three minutes left when his shot hit the post but deflected off Capobianco and into the net.
The River Hawks then extended their lead to two when Christian Folin scored 9:38 into the second frame, blasting a shot into the net from the point on the power play.
Canisius answered right back when Freeman scored his second goal of the season just 71 seconds later. Senior Duncan McKellar sent a shot toward goal from the blue line. His shot was blocked but senior Kyle Gibbons found the loose puck in the low slot and knocked it toward goal, where Freeman was waiting to tap it in.
UMass Lowell, however, would seal the victory with two goals just 79 seconds apart late in the second frame. Josh Holmstrom redirected a puck in for the 4-2 lead with 2:53 remaining in the period before Ryan McGrath scored on a breakaway with 1:34 left for the 5-2 final score.
The River Hawks finished the game with a 37-23 advantage in shots in the game with both teams scoring one power-play goal (four attempts for Canisius and three for UMass Lowell).
Connor Hellebuyck recorded 21 saves to earn the victory in net.
Canisius continues play at the Catamount Cup on Sunday with a contest against host Vermont. The schools are set to begin the first-ever matchup between the two teams at 7:05 p.m.
Game Notes: Law, who last played on Oct. 26 in a win at Denver, missed the previous 11 games with an injury … Law, the team’s MVP during the 2011-12 season, also missed the final 28 games of last season with an injury … Canisius drops to 0-2-1 all-time against UMass Lowell and 0-6-2 versus Hockey East schools … The Griffs also fall to 6-27-2 all-time against nationally-ranked schools.