Erie, Pa. – The Canisius College hockey team scored five-straight goals to rally from a 3-1 deficit and earn a 7-4 victory at first-place Mercyhurst on Saturday night. With the win, the Griffs improve to 9-13-2 and 8-7-2 in Atlantic Hockey play, while the Lakers drop to 14-10-4 and 12-2-3 against league foes.
“Tonight, the difference in the game was our ability to channel our energy toward each other rather than any of the adverse conditions going on elsewhere,” said Canisius head coach Dave Smith. “Our seniors really stepped up and made the difference for us in this victory.”
Senior Taylor Law led the Griffs with two goals on the night, while seniors Kyle Gibbons and Patrick Sullivan, junior Doug Jessey, sophomore Ralph Cuddemi and freshman Geoff Fortman also added a goal in the win.
Senior Tony Capobianco stopped 22 shots in net to earn the victory.
The Lakers grabbed the early advantage thanks to a power-play goal 3:56 into the contest when Anthony Mastrodicasa fired a shot in from the blue line for the 1-0 lead.
Canisius, however, didn’t waste much time answering back with a goal just 66 seconds later. Off a neutral-zone faceoff victory, junior defender Logan Roe wrapped the puck around the boards and to Fortman on the opposite-side blue line, who sent a wrist shot into the back of the net for his first collegiate tally. Junior Carl Larsson also registered an assist on the goal 5:02 into the contest.
The contest remained tied at one until the Lakers were able to take advantage of a five-minute major called on Canisius in the second. Daniel Bahntge netted the first goal of the period, scoring with a two-man advantage at the 14:03 mark for the 2-1 lead. Daniel O’Donoghue then extended the lead, knocking in a rebound at the 11:47 mark for the Lakers’ third power-play goal in as many chances.
The Griffs, though, would once again answer back. Law pulled Canisius within one with his third tally of the season with 5:47 remaining in the period. The senior intercepted a Mercyhurst clearing pass and then back-handed a shot into the net for the unassisted goal.
Gibbons then squared the contest at three with his team-leading 11th goal of the season and seventh power-play tally. From behind the net, junior Cody Freeman found rookie Shane Conacher open in front. Conacher knocked the puck to Gibbons on the far side and the senior scored on the open net for a 3-3 game through two periods of play.
Canisius then carried its momentum into the third period and took control of the contest thanks to two quick 4-on-4 goals just 18 seconds apart. Sullivan opened the scoring 79 seconds into the frame with his eighth tally of the season when he jammed his own rebound in for the 4-3 lead.
Just 18 seconds later, Sullivan then helped the Griffs extend their advantage. The senior beat his defender on a rush and then passed back to Law in the low slot. Law then knocked the puck in for his second goal of the game and fourth of the season for the 5-3 lead 97 seconds into the third period.
Canisius added to its advantage with Jessey’s fourth power-play goal of the season with 13:03 remaining in regulation. The junior fired a shot in from the blue line with assists going to sophomore Chris Rumble and junior Tyler Wiseman for the 6-3 Canisius lead.
The Lakers pulled one back when Matthew Zay scored with 6:22 remaining in the contest but Canisius sealed the victory with 1:12 left in regulation when Cuddemi scored an empty-net goal with an assist to Danford.
Canisius finished the game with a 34-26 advantage in shots on the night, including a 14-4 edge in the third period. The Griffs were also 2-for-6 on the power play, while the Lakers went 3-for-7 with the extra-man advantage.
Jimmy Sarjeant and Jordan Tibbett combined to make 27 saves for the Lakers.
The Griffs continue conference action next weekend with a two-game road series at AIC. The schools begin the set on Friday at 7:05 p.m.
Game Notes: Mercyhurst is now 1-2-0 against Canisius this season and 11-0-3 against the rest of the league … Gibbons entered the night ranked ninth nationally with six power-play goals before adding to his total … Law, who has missed 39 games the last two seasons due to injury, last scored two goals in a game on Jan. 22, 2012 against Sacred Heart … Law’s goals were his first two even-strength tallies of the season (he had two power-play goals entering the night) … All four of Jessey’s goals this season have come on the power play … Canisius has won three-straight road games after starting the year 2-10-0 away from Buffalo.