Orono, Maine – Maine completed a weekend sweep of the Canisius College hockey team with a 3-1 victory in front of 3,910 fans at Alfond Arena on Saturday night. The loss drops the Griffs to 6-8-5 on the season, while the Black Bears improve to 6-13-1.
“We battled hard right to the end,” said Canisius head coach Dave Smith. “We spent a lot of effort to stay close and give us a chance but we couldn’t grab the equalizer late. We need to take what we learned here, play with this kind of pace and intensity and now carry it over to league action.”
Junior Ralph Cuddemi (Concord, Ontario) scored the lone goal for the Griffs on the night.
Freshman Reilly Turner (Temiscaming, Quebec) recorded 36 saves between the pipes.
After more than 15 minutes of scoreless action, the teams combined for three goals in a 2:25 span. The Black Bears got the scoring started when Blaine Byron tapped in a rebound on the far side with Maine on the power play, giving the team a 1-0 lead with 4:20 remaining in the first.
Canisius answered right back with a power-play goal of its own with 2:48 left in the period. From down low, senior Mitch McCrank (Haileybury, Ontario) sent a pass that deflected off the stick of senior Cody Freeman (Toronto, Ontario) in the low slot and right to Cuddemi on the back door. The junior knocked the puck into the net with the open look for his team-leading 10th goal of the season.
The Black Bears, however, answered right back with a goal just 53 seconds later. Maine was able to take advantage of a Canisius turnover in its zone and Will Merchant slipped a shot past the Canisius netminder for the 2-1 lead with 1:55 remaining in the period.
Maine extended its advantage to two early in the second frame. Nolan Vesey finished a 2-on-1 for his second goal of the weekend and the 3-1 Black Bears lead with 13:50 left in the period.
The Griffs came out in the third with more energy, looking to close the gap. However, despite a 9-8 advantage in shots during the period, Canisius could not pull any closer as Maine held on for the 3-1 victory.
The Black Bears finished the game with a 39-26 advantage in shots on the night. Canisius converted 1-of-3 power plays, while Maine was 1-for-2 with the extra-man advantage.
Canisius returns to Atlantic Hockey play next weekend with a pair of home games against Holy Cross at HARBORCENTER. The series is set to begin on Friday at 11:05 a.m. for a special Kid’s Day contest.
Game Notes: Cuddemi also leads the Griffs with four power-play goals this season, scoring his first extra-man tally since Oct. 25 … The Griffs were swept in a weekend series for the first time this season … Canisius finished its non-conference portion of its schedule with a 1-4-1 record … The Griffs also drop to 0-3-0 all-time against Maine and 0-9-2 in 11 meetings with Hockey East schools … Canisius fell to 1-6-3 this season on Saturday after going 5-2-2 on Friday.