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Tadazak, Kozlak powers Army to overtime win over Canisius

BUFFALO - After their performance on Saturday night, the Army Black Knights were looking for a spark to get them back on the winning track.

They found one in sophomore goaltender Rob Tadazak.

Tadazak recorded 25 saves and Joe Kozlak scored 2:09 into overtime as Army defeated Canisius, 1-0, at Buffalo State College.

“Obviously, the way we played last night we needed to respond,” said Army coach Brian Riley. “Last night was not our style, but our guys came up big tonight starting in goal with Tadazak. Just really proud of the guys effort to come back and respond the way they did tonight.”

It was a different Army team right from the opening face off as they took the play to Canisius, peppering Golden Griffin goaltender Tony Capobianco. As much as Army controlled the opening period, it was Tadazak who needed to come up big with just under a minute to go.

Tadazak made three point blank saves in the final 36 seconds to send both teams to the dressing room tied at 0-0.

“He just had a calming influence in goal,” said Riley. “He steered pucks out of the rink. He got us whistles when we needed a whistle.”

The second and third periods played out just like the first with Army controlling most of the play. If the Black Knights could have converted a power play or two, they were 0-7 on the night; the game might have been different.

“Our power play had plenty of opportunities and we didn’t get it done,” said Riley. “I think the power play is something that gets kind of streaky. And we had times this year where we were pretty good this year. This weekend we weren’t. We even tried to change it up in the third period and give them a couple of different looks.”

In overtime it was Canisius that had the best chance early as junior Kyle Gibson skated in on a breakaway. Instead of going down early, Tadazak stood his ground and Gibson, skating in hard, tried to go five-hole – only to have Tadazak squeeze the pads and make the save.

“That save on the breakaway in overtime (was great),” said Riley. “But he was really confident. He was really good tonight.”

That set up the heroics by Kozlak just over a minute later as he took a great feed from freshman R.J. Burns and beat Capobianco.

The play started with Army winning the battle at their own blueline. From there, the puck squirted out to Burns, who skated up the right side and waited out the Canisius defenseman before sliding the puck over to Kozlak.

It was the first overtime win for the Black Knights since beating Mercyhurst, 3-2, on Jan. 7, 2006.

Army (6-8-2, 6-3-2) will return home to Tate Rink Jan. 4-5 against Robert Morris. Friday's game will be televised live by CBS College Sports Network and will face-off at 7:35 p.m. Saturday's contest is the annual House of Blues, a prostate cancer awareness evening at 7:05 p.m. For tickets, visit www.goARMYsports.com, call 1-877-TIX-ARMY or stop by the ticket office at Gate 3 of Michie Stadium.


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