Erie, Pa. - Four third-period goals led Mercyhurst to a 5-2 win against the Canisius College hockey team on Tuesday night. The Griffs fall to 9-12-5 on the season and 8-7-2 in Atlantic Hockey play, while the Lakers improve to 12-10-1 and 10-7-0 in league play.
"It was a good back-and-forth game for two periods," said Canisius head coach Dave Smith. "We were a little careless in the third and the Lakers, with their skill, capitalized. We need to use these games as motivation for next weekend and recognize that we are in the thick of the standings right now."
Junior Kyle Gibbons and freshman Ralph Cuddemi both scored for the Griffs.
Junior Tony Capobianco finished with 26 saves for Canisius.
After a scoreless opening frame, Gibbons gave the Griffs the lead with 11:37 remaining in the second. The junior ripped a shot in on the power play from the point for his team-best 11th tally of the season. Sophomore Mitch McCrank posted the assist for the 1-0 lead.
The Lakers answered back shortly before the second intermission. After the Griffs failed to clear their defensive zone, Daniel Bahntge put a loose puck into the net from the right face-off circle to knot the contest at one with 1:24 left in the period.
Canisius reclaimed its lead early in the third period when Cuddemi netted his second career goal in as many games. On a power play, senior Preston Shupe tried to stuff the puck in from close range only to be denied by the Mercyhurst goaltender. Cuddemi was there, however, to knock the rebound in for the 2-1 lead. Junior Ryan Bohrer also recorded an assist on the goal 3:35 into the third.
The Griffs lead, however, would be short-lived as the Lakers answered back just nine seconds later. Mercyhurst took advantage of another Canisius miscue in its own zone when Matthew Zay scored to knot the contest at two.
The Lakers then took their first lead of the day shortly after tying the contest. Paul Chiasson finished off a 3-on-2 rush for a 3-2 advantage with 14:07 left in regulation. Mercyhurst then sealed the victory when Chris Bodo scored on a 2-1 rush with 2:47 remaining. Daniel O'Donoghue added an empty-net goal for the 5-2 final.
The Griffs finished the contest with a 32-31 edge in shots. Canisius won the special teams battle on the night, going 2-for-3 with the extra-man advantage and killing the only two Mercyhurst power plays.
The Griffs return home next weekend with a two-game series against Holy Cross. The schools open the series on Saturday at 3:05 p.m.
Game Notes: Junior defender Ben Danford became the first player in the program's history to appear in 100-straight games to start his career ... Gibbons has netted eight of his team-leading 11 goals on the road this season ... His eight road goals are just one shy of the national leaders ... Gibbons 11 goals since Nov. 10 also rank third in the nation ... Gibbons extended his career-best points streak to eight games ... All four of Cuddemi's points during his rookie season have come on the power play (2g, 2a) ... The home team has won each of the last five meetings in the series.