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Niagara defeats Canisius in front of a packed house at Buffalos State College

In a matchup of the top two ranked defenses in Atlantic Hockey, it was Niagara who prevailed over the Canisius College hockey team on Friday night, 2-1, in front of 1,572 fans at the Buffalo State Sports Arena. The Griffs drop to 2-6-3 on the season and 1-2-1 in Atlantic Hockey play, while the Purple Eagles improve to 7-2-3 and a perfect 6-0-0 against league foes.

“We played a great game today and I’m pretty happy with everything but the result,” said Canisius head coach Dave Smith. “We controlled the game for large periods and generated good chances on the power play. Aside from not getting two points, we don’t change much for our next game.”

Sophomore Doug Beck (Plymouth, Mich.) scored the Griffs’ lone goal of the contest, netting his second tally of the season.

Junior Tony Capobianco (Mississauga, Ontario) anchored the Canisius defense with 21 saves, including a late stop on a penalty shot to keep the Griffs in the contest.

Despite Canisius controlling the contest early, it was Niagara who struck first with a goal 5:09 into the game. The Griffs recorded the first eight shots on the night but the Purple Eagles netminder came up with big a number of big saves and Niagara then turned around and scored on its first shot of the game. Following a Canisius turnover in its own zone, Ryan Murphy scored high from close range for the early 1-0 Niagara lead.

The Purple Eagles then stretched their lead to two with 6:59 remaining in the second when Michael Benedict knocked in a rebound.

Canisius answered back just more than two minutes later when Beck got the Griffs on the scoreboard. The sophomore tipped the puck into the back of the net off a shot from sophomore defender Stephen Farrell (Ottawa, Ontario) to bring Canisius back within one, 2-1. Junior Patrick Sullivan (Derby, N.Y.) also registered an assist on the tally.

The Griffs, however, were unable to find the equalizer. Canisius’ best opportunity came with 11 minutes remaining when a number of quick passes led to senior Torrey Lindsay (Grosse Isle, Manitoba) redirecting the puck on goal. The Niagara netminder made the initial stop and the puck then that sat in the crease with neither team locating it at first. The Purple Eagles would then clear it to the corner to preserve the 2-1 lead.

Canisius continued to fire shots on net and had two power-play opportunities in the final eight minutes of the game. On the Griffs’ final chance, Canisius was whistled for a penalty and the Purple Eagles were awarded a penalty shot. Benedict lined up looking for his second of the night but Capobianco turned his shot away with 4:42 remaining to keep the Griffs within one. Canisius, however, was unable to take advantage as Niagara closed out the 2-1 win.

The Griffs finished the contest with a 32-23 advantage in shots on the night. Neither team scored on the power play with Canisius going 0-for-4 and killing both of Niagara’s chances.

Carsen Chubak recorded 31 saves in the winning effort for the Purple Eagles.

Canisius returns to the ice on Saturday, Nov. 24, hosting AIC in conference action. The Griffs and Yellow Jackets are set to meet at the Buffalo State Sports Arena with game time slated for 4:05 p.m.

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