The Canisius College hockey team scored six goals in the first two periods en route to a dominating 6-3 victory over Robert Morris on Saturday night. With the win, Canisius improves to 12-17-3 overall and 11-11-3 in Atlantic Hockey play, clinching a home series in the Atlantic Hockey First Round. The Colonials drop to 13-15-4 and 13-8-4 against league foes with the loss.
“Our energy and focus right from the first faceoff was excellent tonight,” said Canisius head coach Dave Smith. “We showed great discipline in a chippy game and played hard from start to finish. We weren’t able to get four points this weekend but we did a good job carrying the play in 5-of-6 periods and hopefully we can carry this type of play into next weekend.”
Junior Doug Jessey led the Griffs with three points, matching his career high. The defender netted one goal to go along with two assists. Senior Taylor Law, juniors Cody Freeman, Matthew Grazen and Mitch McCrank and sophomore Ralph Cuddemi also added a goal for the Griffs in the winning effort.
Senior netminder Tony Capobianco earned the victory in goal, posting 33 saves on the night.
Canisius wasted no time taking the lead, scoring just 20 seconds into the contest when Grazen swatted in a puck from close range for his second goal of the season. Cuddemi and freshman Shane Conacher both registered assists on the game’s first goal.
Robert Morris tied the contest at one with 8:45 remaining in the opening frame when Jeff Jones knocked in a loose puck from the slot. Canisius, however, would answer right back, scoring 1:52 later when Law scored on the power play. Sophomore defender Chris Rumble fired a shot on net from the point and Law was there to clean up the rebound for his sixth tally of the season. Jessey posted his first assist of the night to help give the Griffs the lead for good with 6:53 remaining in the first.
Cuddemi extended the Canisius advantage to two with 2:28 left in the opening frame, connecting on the power play. The sophomore tipped a shot from senior Ben Danford into the back of the net for his 10th goal of the season. Junior Tyler Wiseman also registered an assist as the Griffs finished the first period with a 3-1 lead.
The Colonials pulled to within one early in the second frame when Greg Gibson got past a Canisius defender and scored just 33 seconds into the period. Canisius would respond though and dominate the scoreboard for the remainder of the period to put the game away.
Canisius reclaimed its two-goal lead exactly two minutes later when Freeman finished a rush for a 4-2 advantage. Senior Kyle Gibbons posted an assist on Freeman’s seventh tally of the season 2:33 into the second.
Jessey then stretched the Griffs’ lead to three with his seventh goal of his junior campaign. Senior Patrick Sullivan won a draw back to the blueliner and Jessey skated toward the net untouched and knocked the puck in from right outside the crease for the 5-2 lead.
The junior defender then set up the Griffs’ sixth goal of the game shortly before the second intermission. McCrank scored off a pass from the defender while on the power play with just 18 seconds remaining in the period for his fourth tally of the season and a 6-2 Canisius lead.
Robert Morris was able to pull one back in the third when Scott Jacklin scored on the power play 5:16 into the frame but it was too little, too late as Canisius earned the 6-3 victory.
Canisius finished the game with a 38-36 advantage in shots on the night. The Griffs were also 3-for-7 on the power play, while the Colonials converted 1-of-3 opportunities.
The Griffs wrap up the regular season next weekend with a home-and-home series against RIT. The schools open the two-game set at the Buffalo State Sports Arena on Friday at 7:05 p.m.
Game Notes: Canisius can finish anywhere from sixth to eighth in the final standings … The Griffs have now split six of their 10 two-game Atlantic Hockey series … Jessey also posted three points in a game against Robert Morris last season … Canisius ended a five-game losing streak to the Colonials with the win … The Griffs have now outshot their opponent in seven of the last nine games after doing so in just three of the first 23 contests.