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Canisius splits opening Atlantic Hockey series against Bentley

By: Jon Skuza

Canisius hockey earned a split against Atlantic Hockey opponent Bentley (4-5-0) with a 2-1 loss on Friday and a 6-3 win on Saturday.

Friday’s game was tough for Canisius (4-4-1) in that they didn’t get much help from special teams in the 2-1 loss to Bentley. The power play went 0-6 on Friday and they were only able to generate three shots on those six power play chances. The penalty kill fared a lot better going 4-5 on the day, but the goal they allowed ended up being the game-winner for Bentley.

Both of Bentley’s goals came late in the first period. Cooper Connell opened the scoring for the Falcons with 3:53 remaining in the period. Matt Lombardozzi made it 2-0 with 52 seconds remaining in the first to give Bentley a 2-0 lead going into the second period.

The first and only goal for Canisius came with 33 seconds remaining in the second period when the captain J.D. Pogue potted his third goal of the year to cut the Bentley lead in half.

Despite the loss, Jacob Barczewski had an outstanding performance in net recording 40 saves on Friday.

The disappointing effort on Friday led to a desperate Griffs group providing a significantly better effort on Saturday.

The first period was all Canisius as junior Keaton Mastrodonato opened the scoring 33 seconds into the game. Graduate student Alex Ambrosio scored with just under six minutes to go in the period to extend Canisius’s lead. Lee Lapid potted the first Canisius power-play goal to make it 3-0 Griffs.

Drew Bavaro got the Falcons on the board early in the second period with a short-handed goal to cut the lead to 3-1. Austin Alger restored the three goal lead for Canisius, scoring the second power-play goal in the dying seconds of the powerplay. Matt Lombardozzi scored Falcon’s lone powerplay goal to pull the Falcons within two again.

Junior Daniel DiGrande potted an early third-period goal to put Canisius back up by three. Bentley’s Dylan Pitera answered two minutes later to make Canisius’s lead two again. The Griffs put the game officially away when DiGrande potted his second goal on an empty-netter.

Barczewski had another solid start between the pipes for Canisius making 20 saves in the win Saturday.

“Specifically last weekend you look at a dominant performance from us on Saturday, but it was desperation because of the effort that was there on Friday,” head coach Trevor Large said about the series split.

Barczewski along with teammate Austin Alger were honored on Monday by being named Atlantic Hockey’s Player of the Week and Goaltender of the Week. Alger tied a career-high with three points in Saturday’s game, while Barczewski stopped 63 of 68 shots in the series split.

Canisius will begin a stretch where five of their next six games are home at LECOM HarborCenter. They open up the stretch by welcoming rival RIT on Friday at 6 p.m. The finale of the series will be the next day at 4 p.m.

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