Ice Griffs split with Defending AHA Champion AIC
By: Jon Skuza
Canisius hockey earned a series split against Atlantic Hockey conference opponent AIC (4–9–1) with a 6–5 win on Friday and a 3–2 loss on Saturday.
Canisius (8–6–1) was led by four power-play goals in the 6–5 victory on Friday.
“Tonight was a power-play game,” head coach Trevor Large told GoGriffs.com about the win. “I give full credit to our power play. They were unbelievable tonight. They got us back in the game and then they continued to score goals and get us momentum.”
AIC was in control of the game in the first period, and the Yellow Jackets were able to take a 2–0 lead on Canisius after 20 minutes of play. Graduate Student Austin Alger scored the first power-play goal for Canisius early in the second period to cut the AIC lead in half. AIC answered with two powerplay goals of their own to take a 4–1 lead.
With AIC possessing a three goal lead and controlling pace of play, Canisius then scored three unanswered power-play goals between the middle of the second period and the beginning of the third period to stun the Yellow Jackets and tie the game at four. The goals were scored by graduate student Joey Matthews, Alger with his second of the game and sophomore Max Kouznetsov.
The Griffs added two even-strength goals after they completed the comeback to take a 6–4 lead. Max Kouznetsov and junior Daniel DiGrande scored the goals for the Griffs, before AIC added one more powerplay goal to make it 6–5. AIC tried to push for the equalizer, but fell short and the Griffs took game one.
Unlike Friday, Canisius’s comeback bid fell short in a 3–2 loss on Saturday.
“Just not enough tonight,” Large told GoGriffs.com about the loss. “We have to learn that we have to have better starts. It is not a theme for our team, it's just something that we have to do a better job of. Last night was the same. It's just that we got some power plays and we're able to get it done on the power play.”
Much like Friday’s game, AIC was able to jump out to a 2–0 lead in the first period. The difference was neither team was able to score in the second period. Kouznetsov cut the AIC lead in half early in the third period to make it a 2–1 game. AIC added another goal to restore their two-goal lead. Alger brought Canisius within one with a late third-period goal, but it wasn’t enough, as Canisius’s late third period rally came up short ending in the 3–2 loss.
After a dominant performance on Friday, Canisius’s power play went 0/4 in the loss, but they were able to kill off all four AIC power plays.
Max Kouznetsov was named Atlantic Hockey Association Player of the Week on Monday after his four-point weekend against AIC, while goaltender Jacob Barczewski was named Atlantic Hockey Association Goaltender of the Month on Tuesday after he posted a 5–3–0 record with a 2.70 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage.
Canisius will head out west to face Air Force for a two-game Atlantic Hockey Association series. The weekend is set at Cadet Ice Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo., The series begins on Dec. 3 at 9 p.m. and concludes the following day at 7 p.m.