Junior defenseman Duncan McKellar scored an unassisted goal at 1:08 of overtime, and Tony Capobianco made 50 saves as Canisius defeated Air Force, 4-3, to sweep the best-of-three Atlantic Hockey Association quarterfinal series with the Falcons (17-13-7) in Colorado. It was McKellar’s second goal of the season and went in off an Air Force defender.
Canisius (17-18-5), just the second Atlantic Hockey team to win a playoff series on the road in conference history, advances to the semifinals Friday afternoon at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester where it plays local-rival Niagara. The Griffs also won a playoff series on the road in 2010 when they won at Mercyhurst.
After trailing for most of the second and third periods, Canisius tied the game on Matthew Grazen’s goal with 1:52 left in regulation. The Griffs struck first when Preston Shupe tallied 6:13 into the first period, but had to kill off three minor penalties in the first 12 minutes of the game. Air Force tied it on Ben Carey’s goal at 18:06.
Capobianco kept Canisius in the game, making 21 saves in the first period. Air Force took the lead, however, on a goal by Adam McKenzie at 2:21 of the second period.
Canisius killed off two more penalties early, but the Falcons finally cashed in on the power play when McKenzie scored his second of the game at 11:15 of the second. Kyle Gibbons, who scored the winning goal in the Griffs’ 4-3 win on Friday, got his team within one with a goal with 3:27 left in the second period.
MEN’S LACROSSE: Canisius (1-5, 1-0 MAAC) began defense of its Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship with a 10-7 win over host VMI (0-7, 0-1) in Lexington, Va. The Griffs erupted for four goals after VMI had tied the game 6-6 early in the fourth quarter.
Freshman Vince Gravino led the Griffs with a career-best seven points, four goals and three assists. Joe Rautenstrauch chipped in his first collegiate hat trick. Austin Romantic added two tallies.
WOMEN’S LACROSSE: Niagara (3-5) earned its third straight victory, defeating LIU Brooklyn, 16-6, at Niagara Field in Lewiston. Niagara broke away from a 4-4 tie with eight unanswered goals. Maria Battista scored four goals for NU.
BASEBALL: Jimmy Luppens became the fourth player in Canisius history to hit three home runs in the game, and the Griffs (13-5) scored eight runs in the top of the ninth for a 16-8 triumph over Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. It was the ninth win in the last 10 games for the Griffs and the 300th in the career of coach Mike McRae..