"It wasn't our best game but (goalkeeper) Tony Capobianco did a great job and kept us in the game," said Canisius head coach Dave Smith. "Tony gave us a chance late but we just couldn't find the tying goal. We need to quickly regroup and find a way to get points tomorrow."
Sophomore Mitch McCrank scored the lone goal for the Griffs in defeat.
Junior Tony Capobianco played strong in net, stopping 42 shots on goal.
The Falcons wasted no time grabbing a lead thanks to a tally just 19 seconds into the contest. Kyle De Laurell knocked a rebound in for the early 1-0 Air Force advantage.
Canisius tied the game at one when McCrank tallied his fourth goal of the season 5:58 into the second frame. Junior Kyle Gibbons intercepted a pass in the neutral zone and skated in on a 3-2 rush. Gibbons sent a centering pass toward the slot and after an Air Force defender took down his own goalkeeper, McCrank fired the puck in high for tying score.
Air Force reclaimed its lead with 7:21 remaining in the second stanza, scoring on its fourth power-play attempt of the game. Alex Halloran's blast from the blue line found the back of the net for the 2-1 advantage after 40 minutes of action.
The Falcon defense would take it from there, allowing only three shots on goal during the final frame. Any chances of the Griffs netting a late equalizing tally vanished when the team was whistled for penalties with 2:24 remaining and 56.6 left. Air Force then sealed the victory when Tony Thomas scored with the two-man advantage with 45.7 seconds remaining in the game for the 3-1 win.
Air Force finished the game with a 45-19 advantage in shots, while going 2-for-6 on the power play. Canisius was 0-for-2 with the extra-man advantage.
The schools wrap up the two-game series tomorrow night with game time slated for 9:05 p.m. ET.
Game Notes: The Griffs, which entered the game ranked first nationally in penalty kill, allowed two power-play goals in a game for the first time this season (Canisius was 1-of-2 schools to not allow multiple extra-man tallies this season) ... Canisius is now 3-3-4 all-time at Air Force ... The Griffs are winless in their last nine games against Air Force (0-4-5).