Lewiston, N.Y. - The Canisius College hockey team couldn't overcome an early two-goal deficit in a 4-2 loss to local rival Niagara on Thursday night. The Griffs are now 9-19-4 on the season and 9-13-3 in Atlantic Hockey play, while the Purple Eagles improve to 14-10-8 and 13-6-6 against league foes.
"I liked the fight in our team after facing an early deficit," said Canisius head coach Dave Smith. "I liked our effort to battle back and give ourselves a chance to win. We are just looking for some bounces to go our way instead of against us."
Freshman Tyler Wiseman netted a career-best two goals in the defeat, with sophomore Tony Capobianco stopping 30 shots for the Griffs.
The Purple Eagles led wire-to-wire thanks to two goals in the opening 4:22 of the game, including one tally in the first minute of play. Giancarlo Iourio scored on a turn-around that snuck past the goal line for the early 1-0 advantage just 54 ticks into the game. Isaac Kohls then added another Niagara goal 4:22 into the first, finishing a rush for the 2-0 lead.
Overall, the Purple Eagles controlled possession throughout the first period, outshooting the Griffs, 16-1, and holding Canisius without a shot on goal for the first 14 minutes of action.
The Griffs came out much stronger in the second frame, outscoring Niagara 2-1 in a 76-second span to get back into the contest. Wiseman netted his second goal of the season just 1:19 into the period to cut the Niagara deficit in half, 2-1. After receiving a pass from freshman defender Logan Roe, the rookie skated in from the left and buried his attempt. Freshman Doug Beck added an assist on Canisius' first goal of the game.
Niagara answered right back, taking advantage of a power play just 37 seconds later when Marc Zanette scored on a rebound as the Purple Eagles reclaimed their two-goal lead, 3-1.
Wiseman, however, quickly responded with his second goal just 39 seconds later at the 2:35 mark of the period. Beck sent a pass through the slot, which deflected off sophomore Patrick Sullivan and went to Wiseman on the other side. The rookie then finished for his third tally of the season.
The Griffs would not get any closer, however, and the Purple Eagles scored the game's final goal 2:26 into the third period when Iourio knocked in a rebound for his second tally of the contest.
Niagara held a 34-18 advantage in shots on the night and was 1-for-3 on the extra-man advantage. Canisius did not convert in four extra-man opportunities.
Chris Noonan recorded 16 saves for the Purple Eagles to earn the victory in net.
Canisius returns to action on Friday, February 24, hosting Mercyhurst. The Senior Night contest is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. at the Buffalo State Sports Arena.
Game Notes: Wiseman netted a pair of goals just 76 seconds apart after scoring one goal in his first 18 collegiate games ... With his two assists, Beck recorded two points in a game for the first time in his career ... Niagara's win marked the first for the home team in seven Atlantic Hockey meetings ... The home team entered the game with a 0-5-1 record ... The Purple Eagles took a 14.5-6.5 lead in the 2011-12 Battle of the Bridge series, an all-sports competition between the two neighboring rivals.