"Our seniors really stepped up today when we need them to," said Canisius head coach Randy Mearns. "Sean Callahan came up with some big-time stops in the second half. Our attacking trio of Travis Gibbons, Simon Giourmetakis and Jimmy Haney really buried their chances. Justin Maderer, Ryan O'Hagan, Brendan Murphy and Nico Capron did a phenomenal job on the defensive end, along with freshman Adam Donner. I couldn't be happier and more proud with our effort today and look forward to another great game on Sunday."
Senior Jimmy Haney led the Griffs in the win, matching career highs with five points and four goals. Senior Simon Giourmetakis matched Haney with five points, netting a hat trick to go along with two assists. Fellow senior Travis Gibbons paced the Canisius attack, recording four points on a goal and a career-best three assists. Seniors Brandon Bortignon and Justin Maderer also posted multiple points, with Bortingon recording a goal and an assist and Maderer chipping in two helpers.
Junior Nick Caldiero and freshmen Kevin Collins and Tim Edwards rounded out the scoring for Canisius with a goal each.
Senior Sean Callahan anchored a strong defensive effort in the win, recording 13 saves. The senior was especially strong in the second half, posting nine saves on 14 shots on goal in the winning effort.
The Titans grabbed the early advantage in the contest thanks to the play of goalkeeper A.J. Levell, who held the Griffs to just two tallies in the opening 30 minutes of action with nine first-half stops. Detroit netted five goals on its end to take a 5-2 lead into the intermission.
The second half was a different story as the Griffs were able to solve the Detroit goaltending and finish their chances. Haney netted a pair of goals in the first three minutes of the third quarter to bring Canisius within one, 5-4. Caldiero then knotted the game for the first time since the score was 0-0 with his first goal of the day with 10:05 remaining in the quarter, completing the Canisius rally in just 4:55 of action in the second half.
Twice Detroit reclaimed its lead in the third quarter only to see the Griffs answer right back less than a minute later. Collins netted his second goal of the season just 12 seconds after a Titan score and Giourmetakis then tied the game at seven 57 ticks following a Detroit goal. Canisius finally claimed its first lead of the day when Bortignon netted a man-up goal with 3:25 remaining in the period, giving Canisius an 8-7 advantage heading into the fourth frame.
The Griffs stretched their lead to two early in the fourth quarter when Haney completed his hat trick 1:24 into the stanza. The senior then gave the Griffs a three-goal advantage with an unassisted tally with 9:21 remaining in the contest.
Detroit twice pulled to within two but each time, Canisius was there to answer. Gibbons' first goal of the game with 1:34 remaining sealed the victory for the Griffs before a Detroit goal with one tick left resulted in the 12-10 final.
The Titans finished the game with a slight edge in shots (40-35), ground balls (37-36) and faceoffs (13-12). Scott Harris and Alex Maini each netted a team-best two goals, while Levell finished with 14 saves.
The Griffs now advance to face Siena in the championship game on Sunday. The Saints, who topped Marist in the night's second semifinal, defeated Canisius earlier in the season, earning a 14-2 victory in Loudonville. A bid in the 2012 NCAA Tournament is on the line with the game slated to begin at noon.
Game Notes: The Griffs are making their first trip to the MAAC Tournament since taking the title in 2008 ... Canisius won its only other previous championship game, 14-5 over VMI in 2008 ... The win marked the first time that the Griffs won a MAAC Tournament game as the lower seed ... Canisius is now 3-4 all-time in MAAC Tournament play, winning its last three contests ... The Griffs are a perfect 5-0 this season when outscoring its opponent in the second half ... The Canisius seniors accounted for 10 of the team's 12 goals (83.3 percent) and nine of the team's 10 assists (90 percent) ... For the season, the Class of 2012 has accounted for 78.3 percent of the team's goals (83-106) and 72.2 percent of the team's points (127-176) ... The two points for Bortignon marked the first time in his career that he registered multiple points ... Edwards had his streak of 10-straight multi-point games snapped ... The teams were meeting for the first time in the postseason and the overall series is now even at two.