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  • Colton Pankiewicz

Hockey heads to Sacred Heart after their banner raising weekend

By Colton Pankiewicz, Sports Editor

The Griffs returned home for the first time this season in a two day doubleheader that served as a rematch of the ‘23 AHA championship between Canisius and Holy Cross. The Blue and Gold took the ice on Friday, grabbing their first points of the season with a 5–3 loss before a 4–3 shootout loss on Saturday. Saturday served as a special night with the team watching their 2023 championship banner raised into the rafters before the game, and receiving their AHA Conference Championship rings after the 4–3 final.

“Overall we played a lot better than the previous weekend, and found our stride a little bit. It was nice to get the win last night, today we only got one point but we showed who we are and we showed the grit we have,” said Canisius captain, Max Kouznetsov.

The first game of the two saw Canisius defenseman Jackson Decker break open scoring with a wrist shot from the point to put the Griffs ahead late in the first. Sophomore Killian Kiecker–Olson gave the team its second goal after punching home his own rebound early in the second. Senior Griffin Loughren extended the lead to two and then three with a pair of goals that marked two of his three points on the night. Holy Cross cut the lead to one after a two goal push in the third period, but Griffs’ Matteo Giampa claimed his third point of the game, adding an empty netter in the final seconds to close out the 5–3 effort in Canisius’ first win of the season.

In the final game of the doubleheader, neither team converted on their opportunities until the second period when the teams combined for five goals. The scoring spurt started with Canisius’ Kouznetsov tapped in the game's first goal. The Crusaders claimed three straight goals and took a 3–1 lead before Kouznetsov scored once again, ending the scoring run and leaving the Griffs down one heading into the third period. With nine minutes and 45 seconds remaining in regulation, Canisius found the equalizer on the power play with senior Hudson Lambert sniping one past the Holy Cross netminder. Regulation ended with both teams knotted at three, and overtime served no difference so both teams prepared for the shootout. With three opportunities each, the Crusaders outed the Griffs, capitalizing on two of the chances in comparison to Canisius’ zero. The 4–3 loss still served the Blue and Gold a point, marking two straight games with at least a point.

“It was a really good hockey game from two really good hockey teams. We’re not playing for ties that end up in shootout losses, we’re not satisfied and we’re definitely not happy, but we learned we got a lot of grit,” said head coach Trevor Large after the loss.

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