It was a night where a few missed opportunities cost the Canisius Golden Griffins two points.
Unable to convert on a two-man advantage in the second period and missing a few key chances in the third, the Griffs dropped a 1-0 decision to RIT in front of 914 at the Buffalo State Ice Arena Friday night.
It was a scoreless game through two periods with the Tigers getting the only goal of the game at 2:19 of the third, as Danny Smith fired one high on Canisius senior goalie Tony Capobianco.
It was the only blip in a solid performance by the senior goaltender, who made 29 saves, many of them clutch stops to keep his team in the game.
“I think Capo played one of the better games of the year,” Canisius coach Dave Smith said. “He moved strong in the net. They were trying to get some traffic in and around him but I thought he was really good in the net.”
This is the type of game Capobianco plays when he’s on – moving well, seeing the puck and covering rebounds. He is now 17 shots shy of setting the program record for career saves and, as typical, credited his defense.
“The guys were doing a good job keeping shots to the outside,” Capobianco said. “They had some rush chances but I made that first save and either had a good rebound or the guys were coming back hard and swatting them away.”
But his teammates couldn’t find him any goal support.
RIT held a 11-6 advantage in shots in the first period. In the second, Canisius missed an opportunity to break onto the scoreboard with 1:25 of 5-on-3 time on the power play.
“I thought we did a lot of things well ... Sometimes it comes down to not scoring on almost a full 5-on-3 and just not getting enough traffic,” Smith said. “Their goalie played well and we’ve got to find a way to generate more shots with more traffic.
“We didn’t pay the price enough to get in there. We were a little out of sync in terms of our offensive play, shooting when there’s traffic, passing when there’s a guy open. I thought RIT did a good job. They played well defensively.”
The only goal came at 2:19 of the third period when an odd-man rush developed within the Canisius zone and Danny Smith snapped a pass high past Capobianco.
Adam Mitchell “pulled up and passed it from my right to left,” Capobianco said. “It was a good pass but I think the guy kinda flubbed on the shot and it just went over my glove.”
It was the final regular season game for the Griffs at Buffalo State Ice Arena. Home to Canisius hockey for 15 years, the program has a 109-88-37 record there.
The Griffs still have games to play at Buffalo State, however, as they already secured home ice for the first round of the playoffs. They have locked up the No. 7 seed but their opponent is still to be determined for the best-of-three series that begins March 7.
RIT and Canisius meet again tomorrow in Rochester. It will be the final game at Ritter Arena for the Tigers who will be on the road for the playoffs. They are building a new rink on campus scheduled to open next year.