BUFFALO – Senior goaltender Charles Williams stopped all 29 shots he faced to record his fourth shutout of the season and lead Canisius to a 4-0 victory over Army West Point in Atlantic Hockey Conference action Friday at KeyBank Rink at HARBORCENTER.
Junior Mike Sabatini scored two goals while fellow junior Ryan Schmelzer and freshman Casey Jerry also found the back of the net for the Griffs (15-10-5, 14-4-4), who extended the nation’s longest active winning and unbeaten streaks to seven and nine games, respectively, with the victory. Canisius also maintained its two-point cushion atop the Atlantic Hockey standings with the win.
In a matchup of two of the nations’ top goaltenders, Williams turned in another dominant performance between the pipes for Canisius as he kept the Black Knights off the scoreboard for the first time this season. Parker Gahagen recorded 30 saves for the Black Knights (12-11-3, 11-9-1 AHC).
After a scoreless first period, Schmelzer got Canisius on the board just 28 seconds into the second when he fired a rebound past Gahagen for his 10th goal of the season.
Jerry doubled the Griffs’ cushion to 2-0 midway through the middle frame with a power play tally, picking the puck up by the left faceoff dot and making his way towards the goal before sliding the puck underneath Gahagen and into the net for his fifth goal of the campaign.
Sabatini scored both of his goals in the third period to put the contest away. He made it a 3-0 game at the 10:07 mark with a skilled finish in close quarters before recording an empty net marker in the final three minutes to close out the scoring.
Head Coach Dave Smith’s Postgame Comments
“It was a hard game. Both teams checked hard. There was a lot of emotion; it felt like a playoff game. It was tough sledding both ways.
“I felt that Army controlled the game when we were down there in November. They controlled the pace, they controlled the areas the game was played in. Tonight, I thought we did a better job. We did a better job of breaking out together and taking pucks to the net. We scored two goals going to the net hard tonight. That was a big difference from the first time we played them.
“We’ve got to continue to wipe the slate clean and start over and write a new story tomorrow. Tomorrow’s a different day, a different game. We know that Army is a very good team. We were fortunate to get the win today. I liked the way we played, but we’ve got to reset and come back at it hard tomorrow.”
- Canisius improved to 22-20-5 against Army in the Division I era of the series. The Griffs also moved to 15-7-2 at home all time against the Black Knights
- Canisius improved to 13-0-0 when scoring the first goal of the game and when leading after 40 minutes this season.
- The Griffs moved to 12-0-2 in 2016-17 when scoring three or more goals in a game. Canisius has scored three or more goals in all seven games of its current winning streak.
- The Griffs were 1-for-6 on the power play as they recorded a power-play goal for the eighth straight game. Canisius is 11-for-39 with extra skater in that time frame.
- Army was 0-for-8 with the man advantage as Canisius has now successfully killed off its last 17 shorthanded situations.
- Senior Charles Williams tied former Griffs goaltender Tony Capobianco for first place on the program’s single-season shutout list with his victory tonight. Capobianco recorded four shutouts during the 2012-13 season.
- Junior Ryan Schmelzer extended his point-scoring streak to six games with his goal in the second period. He also recorded his fourth game-winning goal of the season, all of which have come during the Griffs current winning streak.
- Junior David Parrottino stretched his current point-scoring streak to four games with an assist on Schmelzer’s game-winning goal. Parrottino has tallied six points (2g, 4a) in those games.
- Junior Mike Sabatini posted the first multiple-point game of his career with his two-goal effort on Friday.
- The teams complete their two-game series Saturday with a 4:05 p.m. contest at KeyBank Rink in HARBORCENTER.
- Parking at the HARBORCENTER garage will be limited. Fans are encouraged to consider other parking options or take the subway to the game.