Canisius picks up crucial points in split against Air Force
By: Jon Skuza
The Ice Griffs grinded out four huge points in the standings after a 4–2 win on Friday and a 3–2 overtime loss on Saturday. While the Griffs won on Friday, the team had a rough final six minutes of the game, with one minor penalty and one major penalty that allowed Air Force back into the game.
“I loved our game for 54 minutes,” head coach Trevor Large said about the win. “The other six are inexcusable. We are not learning our lesson, so I'm going to make sure that we learn our lesson. It's my job as head coach to hold our guys accountable to our standard for 60 minutes. They did not do that tonight. Other than those six minutes, [Jacob] Barczewski was unbelievable.”
Canisius played well in the 54 minutes Large was talking about, and they outscored Air Force 4–1 in that timeframe, receiving goals from Max Kouznetsov, Mitchell Martan, Simon Gravel and Alex Ambrosio.
The team ended up dropping the second game to Air Force 3–2 in overtime, but the team put in an incredible effort in regulation and overtime despite the loss.
“It's a tough loss because we played well enough to win, but it doesn't mean you will win just because you played well,” Large said. “It doesn't mean you're going to get the result that we're looking for. So, it stings. We'll let it sink in. We'll use it to get better.”
Canisius (13–11–3, 10–8–2) out-shot the Falcons 41–22 on Saturday and just could not solve Air Force’s goaltender Alex Schilling, despite numerous high-danger scoring opportunities.
Air Force’s Will Gavin opened up the scoring at the 11:38 mark of the first period to give the Falcons a 1–0 lead on a beautiful tip in front of the net.
Canisius didn’t answer until the second period when David Melaragni was able to sneak one past Schilling to tie the game for the Golden Griffins. The goal came off an incredible play by Keaton Mastrodonato, who found a way to skate by a couple Air Force players before sliding the puck cross-crease to an open Melaragni.
Air Force regained the lead with under a minute to go in the second period after a couple turnovers led to a shot in front that went off of Falcon’s forward Andrew DeCarlo.
With less than four minutes remaining in regulation and down by a goal, Simon Gravel took matters into his own hands by taking the puck into the offensive zone with speed, getting by the defense before sliding the puck between the legs of Schilling to tie the game at two.
Neither team could score again in regulation, sending the game to overtime where both teams picked up a point. Air Force took home the second point with seven seconds left in overtime, when Will Gavin beat Barczewski on the rush for his second goal of the game.