After the Canisius College hockey team took a 1-0 lead with just 3:23 remaining in regulation, Mercyhurst scored three unanswered goals in the final 2:51 to stun the Griffs for a 3-1 victory. The loss drops Canisius to 8-13-2 on the season and 7-7-2 in Atlantic Hockey play, while the Lakers improve to 14-9-4 and 12-1-3 against league foes.
The schools played a scoreless first 56 minutes of the game before Canisius grabbed the lead with a tally by senior Kyle Gibbons. From down low on the power play, junior Cody Freeman found Gibbons open in the opposite face-off circle and the senior buried his chance with an open look for the 1-0 lead with just 3:23 left in the game. Sophomore Ralph Cuddemi also recorded an assist on Gibbons’ 10th goal of the season and his sixth power-play tally.
However, the Lakers quickly responded. Just 32 seconds later, Matthew Zay’s shot from the blue line hit a stick in front and deflected into the back of the net to tie the contest at one with 2:51 remaining. Daniel Bahntge then finished a chance from the low slot off a pass from behind the net with just 57 seconds remaining for the 2-1 Mercyhurst advantage.
The Lakers then sealed the victory with an empty-net goal with just 18 seconds left in the game.
Mercyhurst owned a 40-30 advantage in shots on the night, including a 17-5 edge in the third period. Canisius was 1-for-4 on the power play, while killing all four Lakers extra-man chances.
Senior Tony Capobianco was strong in net for the Griffs with 37 saves, including a number of stops on 1-on-1 breaks. Jimmy Sarjeant recorded 29 saves to earn the win for the Lakers.
The schools wrap up the season series on Saturday in Erie, Pa. with game time slated for 7:05 p.m.
Game Notes: Canisius is now just 8-6-2 this season in games when it holds a lead, including a 4-6-2 record when it scores first … Canisius fired 18 shots in the second period, the most for the Griffs in any period this season (topping the previous standard of 17) … Capobianco lost in conference play for the first time since Nov. 8, ending a six-game unbeaten streak … Canisius is the only team to hand Mercyhurst a loss in conference play this season, earning a 4-3 win on Nov. 9 … The Lakers’ win ended a six-game winning streak by the home team in the series ... The Griffs have never played to a 0-0 tie in school history.