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Lackluster play dooms Ice Griffs in split against Bentley

By: Jon Skuza

In perhaps the biggest series of the season for Canisius hockey, the Golden Griffins struggled mightily against the Bentley Falcons, only picking up a possible two of six points at home.

The series began with a disastrous 7–4 loss on Friday night, where the group was smoked in just about every aspect by a hungry Bentley squad. While the score didn’t look horrible for the Griffs, head coach Trevor Large acknowledged that the score was not indicative of the play from either side.

“[There was] no turning point in this game,” said Large. “The score was irrelevant. We didn’t have anything going our way except for Barczewski for two periods giving us a chance, and I liked the effort of Lee Lapid tonight. I thought he tried hard, he was skating; but other than that? Nothing.”

Barczewski stopped 38 of 44 shots from Bentley before being pulled with about four minutes left in the game in favor of John Hawthorne. The decision to pull Barczewski had more to do with sending a message to the team and giving Jacob a rest, rather than a traditional benching of a player. The stats certainly aren’t eye-popping, but Barczewski kept the Griffs in the game considering the scoring chances they allowed, and he gave the team a chance before things ultimately fell apart in the final five minutes of the game.

Max Kouznetsov and Lee Lapid each scored in the first period for the Griffs, and Austin Alger provided the other two goals in the loss.

On Saturday, the Griffs provided a much better effort, as they were able to salvage two points in the series by taking game two 2–1 in overtime. Alger scored a game-winning power-play goal in overtime to give Canisius (12–10–3) the win.

The Alger goal came on a five-minute power play after Bentley’s Lucas Vanroboys took his third penalty of the game, this time receiving a five-minute major for cross-checking and game misconduct with under a minute to go in regulation.

The Griff’s first goal came from Lee Lapid early in the second period. Lapid’s marker was the lone one until Bentley’s Cole Kodsi scored a power-play goal midway through the third period to tie the game up for the Falcons.

Jacob Barczewski had a nice bounce-back game for Canisius, stopping 22 of 23 shots in Saturday’s contest.

“It’s just we're used to it,” Large said about Barczewski’s performance Saturday. “It’s who he is. It’s how he prepares, it’s his intensity but loose play.”

Canisius limited the number of shots Bentley had in Saturday’s game to 23 after giving up 49 shots the previous night.

“Defense was a huge focus for us tonight,” Large said about limiting Bentley’s shots. “Obviously, you can look at shots on net to see how you're defending; 49 shots on net last night is inexcusable. We've had a few games in a row that have been like that. Part of that challenge to our team to live up to our culture was how we defend and not to give up anything, not allowing them to get to Barczewski at all.”

Canisius will have time to rest and regroup as they will continue their five-game homestand in two weeks on Feb. 4 and 5; they will welcome Atlantic Hockey Conference opponent Air Force that weekend.

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