Canisius is starting to run out of games.
If the Golden Griffins ever were going to get on a confidence-building winning streak that carries into the postseason, they needed a victory to start the roll.
They got just that Friday night at the Buffalo State Ice Arena by beating Air Force, 4-0. Senior goalie Tony Capobianco made 24 saves for his sixth career shutout, tying the program’s Division I record for career blankings – a mark he now holds with Bryan Worosz and Andrew Loewen.
Patrick Sullivan and Taylor Law each had a goal and an assist, while Ben Danford had two assists for Canisius – which snapped a three-game winless streak with the victory against one of the hotter teams in Atlantic Hockey.
The teams have a rematch at 7 tonight at Buffalo State Ice Arena.
Sullivan (St. Francis) gave Canisius, which has five regular-season games left, the lead for good just 2:41 into the game off assists by Danford and Mathew Backhouse. Mitch McCrank scored on a breakaway 10 minutes later, beating Falcons goalie Chris Truehl high, glove side.
Neither team scored during the middle period, but the Griffs made sure Air Force (17-10-4, 12-7-3) didn’t mount a comeback. They killed off three power plays in the opening half of the period, limiting the Falcons to just three shots and blocking several other attempts. For the game Canisius blocked 17 shots.
“The difference tonight was our commitment to blocking shots and playing good, hard team defense,” Canisius coach Dave Smith said.
Law scored with 3:10 left for the Griffs (11-15-3, 10-9-3), who rode an eight-game winning streak into the NCAA Tournament last season after struggling for most of February. Shane Conacher scored into the empty net with 59 seconds left for the final goal.
Meanwhile, the streaking Niagara Purple Eagles look to continue their climb into a potential spot for a first-round bye in next month’s Atlantic Hockey tourney. They visit Robert Morris at 7 tonight fresh off Thursday’s 5-3 comeback win over those same Colonials. NU is on a 5-1-1 run and stands four points back of fourth-place Connecticut. The top four get byes into the quarterfinals.