SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Sophomore Dylan McLaughlin scored two goals to lead Canisius to a 4-2 victory over American International in Atlantic Hockey Conference action Friday at the MassMutual Center.
Freshmen Matt Hoover and Jesse Pereira also scored for the Griffs (12-10-5, 11-4-4 AHC), who extended their unbeaten streak to six games and maintained at least a share of first place in the league standings with the victory. Blake Christensen and Austin Orszulak accounted for the two Yellow Jackets (7-14-6, 6-10-5 AHC) tallies.
Hoover staked the Griffs to a 1-0 lead just 52 seconds into the contest, jamming home a rebound during a Canisius power play for his fifth goal of the campaign.
McLaughlin doubled the Griffs advantage to 2-0 less than 30 seconds into the second period when he buried a loose puck during a goalmouth scramble for his eighth goal of the season.
Christensen cut the Canisius advantage in half midway through the middle period, firing a slap shot from the left side wall that handcuffed Griffs netminder Charles Williams and found its way into the net to make it a 2-1 contest.
McLaughlin restored Canisius’ two-goal advantage at the 17:42 mark of the second, firing a feed from junior Ryan Schmelzer over the glove of AIC goaltender Zackarias Skog from the middle of the slot to put the Griffs in front, 3-1.
Orszulak pulled the Yellow Jackets within one, 3-2, at the 9:11 mark of the third as he beat Williams with a slap shot from the top of the left faceoff circle.
Moments after killing off a penalty with less than five minutes to play in the third period, Canisius put the game out of reach when Pereira took a feed from junior Jeff Murray on the rush and beat Skog with a wrist shot to the blocker side to determine the final 4-2 margin.
Williams made 28 saves in goal for the Griffs while Skog turned aside 23 shots for the Yellow Jackets.
Head Coach Dave Smith’s Postgame Comments
“It was a hard game. AIC really put us in some tough spots. They had a couple of good looks that Charles (Williams) had to make big saves on; we had a couple of big blocks and a big penalty kill late to keep it at 3-2. It was a tough game. We’ve got to address some things, but we’re happy to get the win.
“I don’t want to take anything away from AIC, but we were loose and sloppy and didn’t defend hard enough in all three zones and AIC capitalized on that. They had us in our own zone for long stretches of time and that’s something we’re going to have to address. Fortunately, we were able to step up at key moments. We got a real big goal coming out of the penalty box after a big kill late in the third, so timely scoring might be the story of today’s game. Special teams were even, they won the faceoff battle, they won the shot attempts. We were fortunate to win the game.”
- Canisius improved to 35-14-7 against AIC in the Division I era of the series with the victory. The Griffs are 18-2-5 against the Yellow Jackets since the start of the 2008-09 season.
- The Griffs moved to 10-0-0 in 2016-17 when scoring the first goal of the game.
- Canisius is now 9-0-2 this season when scoring three or more goals in a game.
- The Griffs extended their unbeaten streak to six games, the longest such unbeaten stretch for the program since going undefeated in seven consecutive games in January 2015.
- Sophomore Dylan McLaughlin extended his point-scoring streak to six games with his two goals on Friday. McLaughlin, who has 10 points (5g, 5a) during the stretch, broke his previous personal best point-scoring streak of five games, set last season.
- Junior Ryan Schmelzer recorded a point for the fourth straight contest as he finished with two assists. Schmelzer has amassed five points (3g, 2a) in those games.
- Four of freshman Matt Hoover’s five goals this season have come against AIC. He recorded a natural hat trick in a 4-0 victory against the Yellow Jackets at HARBORCENTER on Nov. 18.
- Freshman Casey Jerry picked up a point in the second straight contest with his assist on Hoover’s game-opening tally.
- Sophomore Cameron Heath recorded a point for the second straight contest with an assist on Hoover’s power play goal.
- Junior David Parrottino picked up his seventh point in as many games with his assist on McLaughlin’s game-winning tally. All seven of his points this season (3g, 4a) have come during that stretch.
The teams complete their two-game series Saturday with a 2:05 p.m. matinee at the MassMutual Center.