Erie, Pa. – The Canisius College hockey team moved into second place in the Atlantic Hockey standings following a 5-2 victory at Mercyhurst on Tuesday night. The Griffs improve 9-8-5 on the season and 8-4-4 in league play, while the Lakers drop to 10-7-3 and 8-4-2 versus Atlantic Hockey foes.
“After the first period, the players came together with the type of effort needed to win a game against a very talented team like Mercyhurst,” said Canisius head coach Dave Smith. “It is difficult to win any night in Atlantic Hockey, let alone against a good team in their building, and I’m proud of our performance tonight. Tyler Wiseman brought energy and some big-time goals to the lineup and was a key player in the win.”
Senior Tyler Wiseman (Burlington, Ontario) netted two goals in his first game back from an injury to lead the Canisius offense, while seniors Mitch McCrank (Haileybury, Ontario) and Braeden Rigney (Singhampton, Ontario) and sophomore Shane Conacher (Burlington, Ontario) also added tallies for the Griffs.
Freshman Reilly Turner (Temiscaming, Quebec) anchored the Canisius defense with 28 saves on the night.
The Lakers struck first in the contest, scoring just 3:15 following the first face off. The Griffs had a number of chances to clear the zone but couldn’t and Mercyhurst took advantage when Daniel Bahntge found the back of the net.
Canisius tied the game at one when Wiseman scored a short-handed goal. The senior skated down the ice fired a shot on net and then picked up his rebound and finished high for his fourth goal of the season. Senior Logan Roe (Fort Myers, Fla.) recorded an assist on the man-down goal with 12:13 left in the first.
Mercyhurst, however, quickly responded and reclaimed its lead seconds after the ensuing power play expired. Jack Riley knocked a rebound in with 11:23 remaining in the opening frame for a 2-1 Lakers lead after 20 minutes of play.
The Griffs squared the game at two early in the second stanza, taking advantage of an extra man on a delayed penalty. From the point, junior Chris Rumble (Seattle, Wash.) sent a pass just wide at the far edge of the goal crease and McCrank tipped it in for his fourth goal of the season. Sophomore defender Geoff Fortman (Crystal Lake, Ill.) also registered an assist on the game-tying tally 1:59 into the period.
In typical fashion for the Griffs, Canisius took control of the game with a strong third period. Conacher gave the team the lead for good with his sixth goal of the season, scoring on the power play. In the neutral zone, Rumble gloved down a pass by a Mercyhurst player, skated into the zone and found Conacher to his right. The sophomore then blasted a shot into the netting for the 3-2 lead with 10:23 remaining.
Wiseman doubled the Griffs’ lead to two with his second goal of the night. The senior fired a shot into traffic off passes from sophomore Josh Kielich (Orchard Park, N.Y.) and freshman Mike Sabatini (Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.) that found the back of the net for his fifth goal of the year with 5:55 remaining.
It was the Griffs defense who then came up big to seal the victory. Mercyhurst went on a power play and then pulled the goaltender for a two-man advantage. However, the Canisius defense blocked five shots during the possession, allowing only two to reach Turner. After the power play expired, Rigney sent the puck down the entire length of the ice for the empty-net goal with 1:15 remaining, sealing the 5-2 win.
Mercyhurst finished the game with a 30-26 advantage in shots on the night, which including a 14-7 edge in the third period. Canisius was 1-for-5 on the power play, killing all four of the Lakers’ extra-man chances and allowing only one shot while a man down.
Brandon Wildung recorded 21 saves in defeat for the Lakers.
Canisius looks to continue its winning ways with a weekend series against Bentley. The schools are set to meet at HARBORCENTER on Friday and Saturday at 7:35 p.m.
Game Notes: The Griffs scored 5-on-5, 6-on-5 (delayed penalty), 5-on-4 (power play), 4-on-5 (short-handed) and 5-on-6 (empty net) in the win … Canisius is now 5-0-2 when entering the third period tied (8-0-2 when tied or ahead after two) … Wiseman had missed the last six games with an injury … The Griffs have controlled the series with Mercyhurst as of late as the Lakers are just 1-5-1 versus Canisius in the last seven meetings but 26-5-7 against the rest of the league … The Griffs had their five-game run of outshooting conference opponents snapped … Rumble tied a career high with two assists.