No. 2 seed Canisius used three different goal scorers and a 26-save shutout from sophomore goaltender Daniel Urbani to record a 3-0 victory over No. 8 American International in game three of their Atlantic Hockey Conference Tournament quarterfinal-round series Sunday at KeyBank Rink at HARBORCENTER.
Sophomores Jesse Pereira and Matt Hoover and senior Jeff Murray all found the back of the net for the Golden Griffins (19-16-2), who won the winner-take-all finale to advance to the semifinals of the Atlantic Hockey Tournament for the fifth time in the last six seasons. Canisius will face No. 5 seed Air Force, who won their own game three with a 1-0 triumph over No. 4 seed Army West Point Sunday evening.
Stefano Durante finished with 17 saves between the pipes for the Yellow Jackets (15-20-4)
Pereira opened the scoring at the 7:37 mark of the first period when he re-directed a point shot from senior Jack Stander past Durante to give the Griffs the early lead.
Hoover doubled the Griffs margin to 2-0 midway through the second period, one-timing a feed from sophomore Matt Stief into the cage while the Griffs were on the power play.
Murray closed out the scoring with 7:31 elapsed in the third, beating Durante with a shot over the left shoulder from close range for his fourth of the season.
That would be all the supported Urbani would need, as he turned aside all 26 shots he faced, including a game-high 14 attempts from the Yellow Jackets in the third to record his first career shutout.
Head Coach Trevor Large’s Postgame Comments
“I’m really excited for our group. It was a gritty effort in an elimination contest. I was very proud of a lot of individual efforts as well as our group’s effort. I know we are all excited to go to Rochester. Tonight’s game took everything we had. I thought AIC did a great job all weekend, but we were able to come out on top and I know we’re extremely excited about that.
“Anytime you’re facing elimination, you’re going to hopefully come out and have your best. I was very happy with how our guys started. The effort was unbelievable. It took everybody. It took power play and penalty kill. It took small plays that maybe some people don’t see. It took big plays. Our power-play goal was maybe one of the best plays that I’ve seen from our power play. To go back door and hit it with a one-timer to make it 2-0 was huge for our team. The effort was there from the start and I could not be prouder of this group.”
• Canisius improved to 39-16-7 versus AIC in the Division I era of the series with Sunday’s victory.
• The Griffs also moved to 5-0 in game threes in the Atlantic Hockey Tournament with Sunday’s shutout victory
• Canisius improved to 17-1-1 this season when scoring the first goal of the contest
• The Griffs moved to 13-0-0 in 2017-18 when leading after 40 minutes
• Canisius improved to 12-4 at home in the Atlantic Hockey Tournament with Sunday’s triumph.
• Sophomore Jesse Pereira recorded his second career game-winning goal with his first-period tally on Sunday.
• Sophomore Matt Hoover scored his ninth goal since Feb. 1 with his second-period tally on Sunday. The goal was also his fourth power-play goal in that span.
• Junior Dylan McLaughlin posted his 48th point of the season with an assist on Jeff Murray’s third-period tally, moving him into a tie with Chris Duggan (1998-99) for second place on the program’s chart for points in a season in the Division I era.
• McLaughlin also moved into sole possession of second place on the program’s Division I chart for assists in a season with his 31st helper of the campaign.
• Sophomore Daniel Urbani posted his first career shutout with his 26-save performance on Sunday. It was the first shutout for the Griffs since a 3-0 blanking of Niagara in game one of the Atlantic Hockey Quarterfinals last March.
• Canisius advances to the semifinals of the Atlantic Hockey Tournament, where it will face No. 5 seed Air Force in an 8 p.m. contest March 16 at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y.
• Tickets are available and can be purchased by visiting ticketmaster.com