Shawn McBride scored at the 8:06 mark of overtime to lift No. 8 seed American International to a 2-1 victory over No. 2 seed Canisius in game two of their Atlantic Hockey Conference Tournament quarterfinal round series Saturday at KeyBank Rink at HARBORCENTER.
Janis Jaks tallied the game’s opening goal and Stefano Durante stopped 23-of-24 shots for the Yellow Jackets (15-19-4), who forced a winner-take-all game three Sunday evening with their overtime triumph.
Junior Cameron Heath accounted for the lone goal for the Golden Griffins (18-16-2) while sophomore Daniel Urbani finished with a season-high 44 saves between the pipes.
McBride was the hero for AIC in the extra session when he slid the puck between Urbani’s pads from the middle of the slot after the Canisius goaltender stopped an initial shot attempt from the stick of Patrick Demel.
Earlier in the contest, Jaks staked AIC to a 1-0 lead at the 4:52 mark of the first period when his slap shot from the point rang off the right post and into the Canisius cage while the Yellow Jacket were on the power play.
After a scoreless second, Heath brought the Griffs level just 2:36 into the third period when his shot from the left sidewall found its way past Durante for his seventh of the campaign.
Freshman Grant Meyer appeared to give Canisius a 2-1 lead a few minutes later, but his goal was called waived off to the Griffs being offside on the play.
The game would remain deadlocked at 1-1 through the end of regulation, setting up McBride’s overtime heroics.
Head Coach Trevor Large’s Postgame Commments
“It was a tough loss tonight. It felt more like a playoff game. I thought our start was poor, but we got better. We were really good in the third, but clearly not enough to get it done. Obviously, give credit to AIC, it’s a great road overtime win for them.
“When a team is up against a wall in an elimination game, you know you are going to get their best. I was disappointed in how much our guys pressured them early on. I thought we sat back in the first. As the game went on, we tried to fight. The second period was a bit of a wash for us because we were shorthanded the whole time; it was frustrating because they were back-to-back-to-back and it put a lot of pressure on our penalty kill and goaltending. Our penalty kill was great, but it felt like one of those games where we could not build enough momentum.”
• Canisius saw its record against AIC shift to 38-16-7 in the Division I era of the series with Saturday’s setback.
• The Griffs moved to 8-6 this season in one-goal contests with the defeat.
• Canisius moved to 2-2-2 this season in overtime games with Saturday’s loss.
• Canisius was held to one goal or fewer for the first time in nine games (Feb. 2 vs. Holy Cross).
• Saturday’s contest was the first playoff overtime game for Canisius since a 5-4 double overtime victory versus Mercyhurst in the semifinals of the 2014 championship.
• Junior Cameron Heath scored 21st career goal on Saturday, moving him into sole possession of third place on the program’s career chart for goals scored by a defenseman.
• Freshman Grant Meyer recorded his fourth assist of the series with an assist on Heath’s third-period tally.
• Sophomore Daniel Urbani turned aside a season-high 44 shots, eclipsing his previous season high of 38 set against Air Force on Feb. 17.
• The teams will play a winner-take-all game three Sunday at 7:05 p.m. at KeyBank Rink at HARBORCENTER.
• Tickets are available and can be purchased by calling 716-888-TIXX or by visiting ticketmaster.com.