"I couldn't be more proud of our guys," said Canisius head coach Randy Mearns. "With our backs against the wall a couple weeks ago, we fought hard to get into the NCAA Tournament and then we gave the top team one heck of a fight in the first half to be down just one at 4-3. Unfortunately, things didn't go our away in the second half and hats off to Loyola. I'm proud of our team's effort though and the season we accomplished."
The MAAC Tournament MVP, senior Jimmy Haney led the Griffs with three tallies on the afternoon, while senior Travis Gibbons and freshman Brandon Bull also netted a goal for Canisius.
Senior Sean Callahan played solid in goal for the Griffs, recording 11 saves on the afternoon before giving way to freshman netminder Alex Govenettio, who recorded one stop in relief.
Junior Mike Moran controlled possession at the faceoff X for Canisius, winning 13-of-20 restarts in the contest (65 percent). Moran also led the Griffs with nine ground balls, while senior Brendan Murphy collected six on the defensive end.
Loyola started the game strong and raced to a 4-0 lead after one period of play. Scott Ratliff netted two of the four goals for the tournament's top-seeded team, including the first goal of the contest 1:22 in, to help give the Greyhounds a four-goal advantage after 15 minutes of action.
The momentum swung the way of the Griffs in the second stanza with Canisius dominating possession, starting with the play of Moran at the faceoff X. The junior won all four restarts in the second quarter as Canisius scored the only three tallies of the frame. Gibbons got the Griffs on the scoreboard 1:59 into the period, scoring low off a pass from freshman Tim Edwards. Haney then netted two unassisted goals - scoring his second tally from the ground - at the 8:23 and 2:48 marks to bring Canisius within one at the intermission, 4-3.
The Greyhounds responded after the break, controlling the third quarter to reclaim its advantage. Mike Sawyer ended a 24:26 drought when he scored his first of three goals in the frame at the 11:45 mark, collecting a rebound off a Callahan save and finding the back of the net. Overall, the Greyhounds outscored Canisius, 5-0, in the third to take control of the contest and a 9-3 lead into the final frame.
Loyola continued its run in the fourth quarter, outscoring Canisius, 8-2, to earn the 17-5 victory.
The Greyhounds outshot the Griffs, 29-8, in the second half and forced Canisius into 13 turnovers, while only committing eight on its end. Overall, Loyola finished with a 47-22 advantage in shots and a 39-30 edge in ground balls.
Sawyer led the Greyhounds with five goals in the winning effort, while Eric Lusby chipped in five points on three goals and two assists.
The loss ended the Griffs' four-game winning streak to conclude the 2012 season, where Canisius won its last two contests of the regular season to earn a bid in the MAAC Championship and then secured the program's second conference title with wins over Detroit and Siena.
Game Notes: The Griffs were making their second NCAA Tournament appearance. Canisius lost to third-seeded and eventual national champion Syracuse in 2008 ... Six of the Griffs' eight all-time NCAA Tournament goals have been scored in the second quarter ... The game marked the final collegiate contest for 16 Canisius seniors ... The schools were meeting for the first time.