The Canisius College hockey couldn’t overcome a slow start in a 4-2 loss to Air Force on Saturday night. The Griffs are now 11-16-3 on the season and 10-10-3 in Atlantic Hockey play, while the Falcons improve to 18-10-4 and 13-7-3 against league foes.
“We had a positive response from a poor first period but the margin is very small this league and we couldn’t fully recover,” said Canisius head coach Dave Smith. “We got it to a one-goal game and were pushing when they got that late power-play goal. It kind of stung us and we weren’t able to find the equalizer.”
Senior Patrick Sullivan and junior Cody Freeman both scored goals for the Griffs.
Senior Tony Capobianco stopped 31 shots in net.
The Falcons controlled the contest in the first period, outshooting the Griffs by a 16-5 margin in the first 20 minutes of the contest. Air Force was able to take advantage when Adam McKenzie fired a shot into the back of the net through a screen from the blue line for the 1-0 lead with 3:06 remaining in the period.
Air Force then stretched its advantage to two with 12:26 remaining the second when A.J. Reid knocked a rebound in.
The Griffs responded from the sluggish start and pulled to within one when Sullivan scored his 10th goal of the season. Junior Doug Jessey fired a shot toward net and the puck hit off Sullivan’s back and into the net for the 2-1 score. Sophomore Chris Rumble also registered an assist on the goal with 10:03 remaining in the second frame.
Canisius, however, was unable to pull any closer and the Falcons scored a pair of goals 77 seconds apart in the third frame to seal the victory. Chad Demers scored when wide open on a power play with 8:14 remaining in regulation and Ryan Timar then knocked in a rebound with 6:57 left for the 4-1 score.
Freeman cut the deficit to two with 4:42 remaining in regulation, connecting on the power play for his sixth goal of the season. Seniors Kyle Gibbons and Ben Danford both registered assists on the extra-man tally but it was too late as Air Force earned the 4-2 win.
The Falcons finished the game with a 35-20 advantage in shots on the night. Both teams scored one power-play goal in four chances for Air Force and three for Canisius.
Jason Torf recorded 18 saves to earn the win in net for the Griffs.
Canisius continues Atlantic Hockey play next weekend with a two-game series against Robert Morris. The schools begin in Pittsburgh, Pa. on Friday at 7:05 p.m.
Game Notes: In two-game series against Atlantic Hockey competition, Canisius is 6-2-1 in the first game of the series and 2-5-2 in the finale … The Griffs lost for the first time this season when Sullivan scored a goal (were 7-0-1) … Air Force had more shots in the first period on Saturday (16) than it did in the first two periods combined on Friday against Canisius (11).