Kyle Gibbons had been sitting at 97 points for weeks and in all truth, it was a little frustrating.
The senior forward was creating scoring chances and generating opportunities, but couldn’t connect on the scoresheet for the last four games.
Good bounces come to those who keep working and keep their confidence high.
Gibbons scored twice and added an assist to reach the 100-point milestone Tuesday. The performance led Canisius to a 5-2 win over RIT in front of 992 at Buffalo State Ice Arena.
“You’re sitting at 97 staring at 100, it feels like it’s 100 points away,” Gibbons said. “Not even that. I was playing well and it’s frustrating when you’re getting a lot of good looks, getting a lot of good shots and goalies are making saves or guys are blocking shots. It kind of just wears on you, but you’ve got to work through it.”
“If everybody scored on every shot, this game would be totally different. I gotta give credit to coach for sticking with me and my linemates for working their bags off. It’s special but I can’t do it without anybody else so it really should be a team award.”
It was a team effort Tuesday, buoyed by senior leadership, which allowed the Golden Griffins to come back from an early 2-0 deficit.
Sophomore Dan Schuler scored twice for RIT on rebound goals as the Griffs struggled to cover defensively around their own net.
But Canisius regrouped and tied the game on a pair of goals from defensemen.
Matthew Grazen won the faceoff and got the puck back to sophomore Mathew Backhouse, who ripped a shot from the left point over RIT goalie Jordan Ruby’s left shoulder.
Ben Danford then had a blast from the blue line on a Canisius power play to tie the game, 2-2. Gibbons had the assist on that goal.
The tally ended an 0-for-11 power play skid for the Griffs.
Canisius had to put some quality minutes in the penalty kill in the second period as the Griffs took a series of penalties that gave the Tigers three power plays in the period, including 56 seconds of 5-on-3.
But senior goaltender Tony Capobianco managed the unit from the crease and the defense kept RIT from getting shots through.
By the end of the game, Canisius had killed off five RIT power plays. That makes 13 straight kills over the course of four games.
“We knew their power play set up. I just feel like I knew where the guys were gong to be and I could tell where the shots were going to come,” said Capobianco, who made 34 saves. “As long as I could get to that spot and make the first save, the guys were pretty good about getting the rebound.”
Gibbons scored on the power play at 4:35 to break a 2-2 tie. Just 48 seconds later, freshman Jack Hidi scored his first collegiate goal on a two-on-one break taking a pass from Carl Larsson.
The Griffs carried play for the bulk of the period, allowing Gibbons to notch another with 10:17 left in the game for his 100th career point. “Not just Kyle, but the senior leadership of Capo, Danford and Gibbons was really exceptional tonight,” Canisius coach Dave Smith said. “I think what you saw was Kyle’s fire to produce. … his skill and his experience was definitely a difference in the game.”
With the win, the Griffs improved to 2-3-0 in Atlantic Hockey and 3-7-0 overall. It also marked the fourth straight win for Canisius over RIT. The Tigers dropped to 1-3-0 in Atlantic hockey play and 1-6-2 overall.