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Ice Griffs split with Large’s alma mater Ferris State

By: Jon Skuza

The Canisius Golden Griffins hockey team split their series with Ferris State this past weekend, and it was a special one for head coach Trevor Large. Large coached against the team he played four years for from 2000 to 2004, and he got the chance to coach against his old coach in Bob Daniels.

The series was a very physical and hard-fought battle, with Canisius earning a win on Friday and Ferris State earning a win on Saturday.

A late third-period goal from graduate student Jake Witkowski sealed the win for Canisius on Friday as the team took the opening game 4–3.

“Tough hockey game,” head coach Trevor Large said about the win. “I thought it took everybody tonight. If you look at who scored for us, it’s all down the lineup. You look back in a game and you can see big plays by everyone, from Ryan Miotto winning a big faceoff at the end to [Barczewski] making big saves when we needed them.”

Canisius started off the game strong with a quick goal from sophomore Max Kouznetsov 1:04 into the game. After the opening goal by Canisius, Ferris State took control of the period, outplaying Canisius for the rest of the first. Ferris State tied the game just over a minute later with a goal from Bradley Marek. The Bulldogs added another goal to take a 2–1 lead when Justin Michaelian scored on a great shot that beat Canisius goaltender Jacob Barczewski.

The Golden Griffins came out in the second period and played a much stronger period. Graduate student Cory Thomas tied the game with a laser shot from the point for his first as a Griff.

The third period was a back-and-forth battle for both teams. Canisius fell behind early in the period after a turnover from graduate student Joey Matthews that led to an unassisted goal by Ferris State’s Zach Faremouth to give the Bulldogs a 3–2 lead. However, Matthews came back on his next shift and drew a penalty to give Canisius a power play opportunity to tie the game.

Canisius answered on that power play with under seven minutes to go in regulation with a goal from senior Mitchell Martan. Matthews would get his retribution with a secondary assist on the power-play goal and he was key in moving the puck around as Canisius dominated Ferris State in their offensive zone for the entirety of the power play. At the 16:02 mark of the period, Witkowski scored the game-winning goal for Canisius to give them the 4–3 win over the Bulldogs.

Canisius special teams played a big role in the win Friday. The power play went 1–5 on the night, while their penalty kill was a perfect 2–2 on Friday.

“Special teams were a big part of the win,” Large explained. “I felt like the power play really got us momentum. Their job is to do two things: either you score or build momentum, and tonight I think they were a big part of building momentum.”

One key aspect in the special teams’ success on Friday was also the discipline of the team in general. The penalty kill did a great job on Friday killing off two penalties, but another aspect that helped the Griffs was the fact that they only had to kill off two penalties in the game.

While Canisius’s discipline helped them in their win on Friday, their lack of discipline led to two major penalties, hindering them on Saturday as the team fell 4–2 in the series closing game.

“The game was filled with lots of pauses and adversity with multiple five-minute majors,” coach Large said. “It was not a very disciplined hockey game, and that's something that we talk about a lot. We have to be better there. Overall, just not good enough to get the result that we were going for tonight.”

Ferris State opened the scoring at the 6:44 mark of the first period on a goal from Liam MacDougall on an odd man rush. Canisius (3–3–1) tied the game at one on the power play as graduate student Joey Matthews potted his first goal as a Griff.

Canisius got into penalty trouble in the second period, starting with graduate student Cory Thomas being handed a five minute major and a game misconduct for an interference penalty. Thomas’s hit on Ferris State’s Jake Transit left Transit on the ice for several minutes before being stretchered off the ice.

Canisius killed off Thomas’s major penalty to keep the game tied at one, but junior David Melaragni was assessed the second major for Canisius after being called for contact to the head. Ferris State’s Bradley Marek scored a goal during the five minute power play to put Ferris State up 2–1.

Graduate student Austin Alger scored the second power play goal for Canisius to tie up the game just 34 seconds into the third period. Canisius received a five minute power play shortly after the goal but could not convert as Ferris State killed off the penalty.

Liam MacDougall scored his second goal at the 6:50 mark of the third period to regain Ferris State’s lead. Dallas Tulik added an empty net goal to seal the 4–2 Ferris State win.

Canisius finished the game with a total of 36 penalty minutes. Ferris State didn’t fare much better, finishing with 29 minutes in penalties.

Canisius special teams played pretty well despite having to kill off two five-minute majors. The power play went 2–6 on the night and the penalty kill went 3–4. The difference in the game was Canisius not being able to put the puck in the net at even strength, and it cost the Griffs as they dropped the second game of the series for their third split of the season thus far.

Canisius will travel to Waltham, Mass. next weekend to open up Atlantic Hockey Conference play against conference opponent Bentley.

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