Lewiston, N.Y. - An unfortunate bounce led to the only 5-on-5 goal of the contest for No. 15 Niagara as the Canisius College hockey team suffered a 2-0 setback to its rival on Saturday night. The loss drops the Griffs to 11-14-5 on the season and 10-9-2 in Atlantic Hockey play, while the nationally-ranked Purple Eagles improve to 18-5-5 and 17-2-2 against league foes.
Junior Tony Capobianco turned in his second-straight solid performance against the ranked Purple Eagles with 42 saves to anchor the Canisius defense.
After more than 55 minutes of scoreless action, Niagara took advantage of a golden opportunity thanks to a bounce off a referee. The Purple Eagles fired a puck down the ice and right over a Canisius defender at his own blue line. The puck then hit a referee near the boards, preventing the icing call, and bounced right to a waiting Ryan Murphy of Niagara in the middle of the Canisius zone. Murphy then skated in one-on-one and beat Capobianco high for the 1-0 lead with 4:24 remaining in the game.
"I read icing and once (Murphy) got the puck, I didn't have my depth and threw a desperation poke check but it was too far away," Capobianco said. "It was a pretty good shot - right inside the post and it was a hard one."
The Purple Eagles then sealed the victory when Patrick Divjak scored an empty-net goal with 3.3 ticks remaining in the contest.
Canisius had its opportunities to take the lead but couldn't quite finish its chances. In the first period while on the power play, the Griffs knocked in a loose puck but the whistle had blown just a second earlier to halt play to keep the game scoreless. Canisius also had a 1:27 of 5-on-3 action at the end of the second and to start the third but the Griffs couldn't capitalize on the opportunity as the game headed into the final stretch knotted at zero, where Niagara would take advantage.
The Purple Eagles finished the game with a 44-32 advantage in shots, including an 18-9 edge in the third period. Neither team was able to score in five power-play attempts.
Carsen Chubak stopped all 32 shots in the winning effort for Niagara.
Canisius now travels to Colorado to face Air Force next weekend. The schools begin the two-game series on Friday at 9:05 p.m. ET.
Game Notes: Canisius is now 4-22-2 all-time against nationally-ranked schools ... In five games this season against ranked foes (twice against No. 6 Western Michigan and No. 15 Niagara plus once against No. 1 Minnesota), Capobianco owns a 1.41 goals against average and .965 save percentage ... Niagara now leads the 2012-13 Battle of the Bridge series, 11-6.