Junior Derek Barach scored at the 2:01 mark of overtime to lift Mercyhurst to a 4-3 victory over Canisius in Atlantic Hockey Conference action Friday at the Mercyhurst Ice Center.
Barach recorded his third game-winning goal of the season near the midway point of the extra session when teammate Jack Riley’s shot from the top of the zone deflected off him and into the net.
The overtime victory capped a comeback that saw the Lakers (4-3-2, 2-1-2 AHC) tie the game with 1:25 remaining in regulation on an extra-attacker goal by Jonathan Charbonneau moments after the Golden Griffins (3-4-1, 3-4-0 AHC) scored twice during a five-minute power play opportunity to take a 3-2 lead.
Trailing 2-1 at the start of the major penalty, sophomore Matt Hoover tied the game at the 13:53 mark of the third, wiring a wrist shot past the glove hand of Mercyhurst goaltender Brandon Wildung for his third of the season.
Junior Dylan McLaughlin put the Griffs in front just 39 seconds later, tapping home a backdoor pass from senior Ryan Schmelzer to give Canisius its first lead of the game at set up the game’s frantic final moments.
Earlier in the contest, Nathan Ferriero gave Mercyhurst a 1-0 lead at the 8:31 mark of the second period when his pass deflected off a Canisius defender and into the net.
Schmelzer brought the Griffs level exactly two minutes later, re-directing a centering feed from sophomore Nick Hutchison past Wildung during 4-on-4 action for his third goal of the campaign.
Wes Baker restored Mercyhurst’s lead with less than two minutes to play in the middle period, beating Canisius goaltender Simon Hofley with a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle while the teams were skating four aside.
Hofley finished with 34 saves for Canisius. Wildung turned aside 24 shots for Mercyhurst.
Head Coach Trevor Large’s Postgame Comments
“We were almost able to sneak out a win tonight. We were in a good position at the end of the game to do that, but we were unable to close it out and then they get a lucky bounce in overtime with a good play towards our net. Our power play was good tonight, but overall, we just need to continue to get better.
“We’ve got to flush tonight’s result quickly and get better. There is no other option. Win or lose, you flush the result of the game as soon as possible. You evaluate how individuals played; you evaluate how the team played; you learn from what happened during the game and then you prepare for the next contest. The beauty of college hockey is that there is no choice. You have to flush each result quickly and get ready for the next game.”
Mercyhurst increased its lead in the Division I era of the series against Canisius to 30-27-9 with Friday’s overtime victory.
The game was the 19th contest in 87 all-time meetings between the programs to head to overtime. Mercyhurst owns a 6-3-10 advantage in extra-session games versus Canisius.
The Griffs suffered their first overtime setback since falling 2-1 at Robert Morris on Feb. 6, 2015.
Canisius recorded multiple power-play goals in a game for the third time this season as the Griffs were 2-for-6 with the man advantage.
The Griffs moved to 0-4-0 this season when allowing the first goal of the contest.
Senior Ryan Schmelzer recorded multiple points in a game for the second time this season and the 19th time in his career.
Junior Dylan McLaughlin extended his team-leading point goal to 10 (4g, 6a) with his third-period tally. Three of McLaughlin’s four goals this season have come on the power play.
Senior Jack Stander picked up his first point of the season with the secondary helper on Hoover’s third-period marker.
The teams conclude their two-game series Saturday with a 7:05 p.m. contest at the Mercyhurst Ice Center.