"We had a really good 60-minute effort today against a very talented Holy Cross team," said Canisius head coach Dave Smith. "It was a combination of execution and being motivated from a dangerous team on the other side. It's a battle every night out there and today we got two crucial points. We will look for the same effort tomorrow and every time here on out in a tight conference battle."
Junior Kyle Gibbons led the Griffs with a pair of goals in the winning effort with senior captain Preston Shupe also chipping in a tally.
Junior netminder Tony Capobianco recorded 23 saves for his second shutout of the season and the third of his career.
Canisius dominated right from the start, outshooting the Crusaders, 17-7, in the opening period. Shupe highlighted the opening 20 minutes of play with his 11th tally of the season, giving the Griffs all the offense they would need on the day. Freshman Chris Rumble had his shot from the point deflected and Shupe gathered the loose puck down low. The senior captain then found the back of the net 4:07 into the game for the 1-0 lead. Freshman Stephen Miller also registered an assist on the go-ahead goal.
The Griffs continued their strong play in the second stanza with two tallies by Gibbons. The junior scored his first of the day and 12th of the season 8:56 into the period on the power play. Off the rush, sophomore Cody Freeman skated toward the goal and knocked the puck out front. Gibbons was there to send it into the net for the 2-0 lead. Junior defender Ben Danford also registered an assist on the goal.
Gibbons then netted his team-leading 13th tally of the season with 6:35 remaining in the second. From behind the net, Freeman centered the puck and Gibbons fired it in for the 3-0 advantage. Junior Patrick Sullivan added an assist on game's final goal.
Capobianco and the Canisius defense took it from there, sealing the shutout victory by stopping all 23 shots on goal.
Canisius finished the game with a 34-23 advantage in shots. The Griffs were 1-for-4 on the power play, while killing all four Crusader extra-man advantages.
Matt Ginn stopped 31 shots in net for Holy Cross.
The schools, who are now tied for fourth in the Atlantic Hockey standings, wrap up the two-game series tomorrow afternoon. Game time at the Buffalo State Sports Arena is set for 2:05 p.m.
Game Notes: The Griffs posted their first win in regular-season play against Holy Cross since Feb. 17, 2008 - ending an eight-game winless streak ... Gibbons extends his career-best point streak to eight games, posting 13 points, eight goals and five assists during the run ... The junior has now netted a goal in 11 of his last 18 games (13 goals total) ... In eight career games against Holy Cross, Gibbons has seven points and six goals ... The Griffs are now 8-0-0 this season when Shupe scores a goal (2-12-5 when he doesn't) ... Freeman has recorded multiple points in three of his last five games (he had zero in his first 38 career games).