Tony Capobianco made 23 saves and Kyle Gibbons scored a pair of goals Saturday to lead Canisius to a 3-0 Atlantic Hockey Association victory over Holy Cross at the Buffalo State Arena, its first regular season victory over the Crusaders in five years.
The shutout was the second of the season and third of his career for Capobianco, a junior from Mississauga, Ont.
In Lewiston, Ryan Murphy and Marc Zanette had two goals and an assist each as 17th-ranked Niagara swept its two-game Atlantic Hockey series with Bentley, 6-4.
Gibbons, who leads the Griffs in goals (13) and points (21), scored on the power play at 8:56 of the second period to make it 2-0 and added an even-strength goal at 13:25 of the same period. Preston Shupe opened the scoring for the Griffs at 4:07 of the first with assists from Chris Rumble and Stephen Miller. Cody Freeman had a pair of assists for Canisius.
Capobianco improved his goal-against average to 2.12 and his save percentage to .930 as he won his ninth game against 12 losses and four ties.
Canisius had gone winless in 10 straight regular season games (0-8-2) against Holy Cross since a 2-1 home win Feb. 17, 2008. The Griffs did win a 3-2 game against the Crusaders in the Atlantic Hockey Tournament on March 12, 2011.
The Griffs outshot the visitors, 34-23, including a 17-7 advantage in the opening period.
The teams will complete their two-game series at 2:05 today.
Murphy, Niagara’s leading scorer with 11 goals and 14 assists for 25 points, tied the game at 1-1 in the first period and put his team ahead 5-3 in the second.
Murphy also assisted on Zanette’s first goal which gave the Purple Eagles a 4-3 lead in the second. Patrick Divjak also assisted.
Zanette’s second came into an empty net with 16 seconds left. It was the only tally in the third period. Ryan Rashid and Sam Alfieri also scored for NU.
Carsen Chubak made 21 saves in goal for Niagara. Branden Komm (Williamsville North) of Bentley had a much busier night, facing 32 shots and making 27 saves.
Niagara (17-4-5, 16-1-2 AHA) strengthened its hold on first place in the league with eight games left on the regular season schedule, including a home-and-home series with Canisius this week.\
The Purple Eagles have 34 points to lead the Atlantic Hockey standings, 11 points in front of Mercyhurst (11-6-1) and 12 in front of Air Force (9-6-4).
Canisius and Holy Cross, each 9-7-2, are tied for fourth with 20 points each followed by Bentley (9-9-1) with 19.
Niagara and Canisius will meet at Buffalo State on Thursday night and conclude their regular season series on Saturday night at Dwyer Arena.