There’s a consistency to the pattern.
Canisius plays well, scores goals, blocks shots and earns points on the first night of the weekend series.
Then comes the second night and the Golden Griffins can’t quite match the intensity of the opposition and while they make valiant comebacks, they fall short on the scoreboard.
The trend continued as the Griffs followed up a 4-0 win on Friday with a 4-2 loss on Saturday to Air Force.
In two-game series against Atlantic Hockey Association opponents, Canisius is 6-2-1 on the first night and 2-5-2 on the second night.
In this version, the Griffs had a complete performance in Friday’s shutout win. Then on Saturday they fell behind fell behind 2-0 before they found a flow before 589 at the Buffalo State Ice Arena.
“That’s the problem, we were down 2-0 and we were just settling in where as you look at Friday night, we came out right from the start and scored in the first five minutes of the game,” senior forward Kyle Gibbons said. “That’s the difference. You come out on Friday, guns blazing and then Saturday night you come out and wait a full period and a little bit and all of a sudden you’re down two goals. Then you’re like, ‘Oh, I guess the game started so we probably should play.’
“I don’t know what it is. If it’s more attention to preparation, more attention to details. I don’t know. ... If we had an answer we’d be in a different spot. I don’t know. It’s frustrating because we should be winning some of these games.”
Air Force was relentless in the opening period. As expected after Friday’s loss, the Falcons came out with intensity and dominated play, holding a 16-5 advantage in shots, and took a 1-0 lead on a goal from Adam McKenzie.
The Falcons increased their lead to 2-0 at 7:34 of the second when A.J. Reid put in a rebound past a sprawling Tony Capobianco.
But Canisius got one back just over two minutes later. Patrick Sullivan won an offensive zone faceoff and got the puck back to Chris Rumble. Doug Jessey then fired a shot from the blue line that hit off Sullivan’s back and went into the net.
“Air Force, there was a clear message their guys had and it was to get the puck at the net,” Canisius coach Dave Smith said. “They threw every puck at the net. It was step in over the blue line, throw it to the net. Step in over the blue line, throw it at the net. They got some energy from that.”
While the Griffs were working the offensive zone to get the equalizer, forward Ralph Cuddemi was called for charging. Air Force cashed in on the power play as Chad Demers was alone in front of Capobianco and buried his opportunity.
Ryan Timar punched in another Air Force goal to make it 4-1.
Canisius got one back with 4:18 left as Gibbons connected with Cody Freeman on the power play.
The Griffs have a home-and-home next weekend, traveling to Pittsburgh Friday to face Robert Morris while the Colonials come to Buffalo for a 7 p.m. game on Saturday.