ERIE, Pa. — Freshman Joel Kitchen scored with 1:06 remaining in the third period to lift Canisius to a 4-3 victory over Mercyhurst in Atlantic Hockey action Friday night at the Mercyhurst Ice Center in Canisius’ first game in the post-Brian Cavanaugh coaching era.
Kitchen’s goal came just 27 seconds after Mercyhurst knotted the game at 3-3 and moved Canisius into first place in Atlantic Hockey with a 7-2-0 conference mark. The Griffs are 8-7-1 overall, while Mercyhurst falls to 5-9-1 overall, 4-1-1 in the league.
Mercyhurst lit the lamp first, scoring 7:08 into the period on a power-play goal by Dave Borrelli, his ninth of the season. Ben Cottreau found a wide-open Borrelli on the right side of the net and Borrelli slipped the puck into the open net for a 1-0 advantage.
The Lakers extended their lead to 2-0 at the 13:16 mark of the opening period with a goal by Rich Hansen. Hansen found a loose puck in front of the net and lifted the puck over Canisius senior goalie Bryan Worosz for his second of the year.
With 6:25 remaining in the period, Canisius cut the margin to 2-1 on a power-play goal by senior Josh Zavitz. Zavitz snapped a shot past Mercyhurst netminder Andy Franck for his third goal of the season. Sophomore David Kasch was credited with the assist.
Canisius knotted the game at 2-2 just 3:36 into the second period with a short-handed goal by sophomore Billy Irish-Baker, the Griffs’ first short-handed tally of the season. With junior Tim Songin serving a tripping minor, junior Andrew Dawe came blazing down the left side of the ice with a Mercyhurst defender and slipped a pass through to Irish-Baker, who jammed the puck inside the left post past Franck.
Bognar was wide open in the slot and took a pass from sophomore Michael Cohen during a 4-on-3 advantage giving the Griffs a 3-2 lead at the 6:24 mark of the third period.
Mercyhurst knotted the game at 3 late, on a goal by Cottreau with just 1:33 remaining. Borrelli returned the favor feeding Cottreau in the slot for the equalizer and sending the home crowd into a frenzy.
That frenzy was silenced just 27 seconds later as the Griffs got the game-winner off the stick of Kitchen, who was fed a pass from fellow freshman Mike Ruberto for his seventh goal of the season.
Worosz finished with 29 saves for the Griffs. Franck stopped 31 shots in the loss for Mercyhurst. Canisius was 2-for-8 on the power play, while Mercyhurst was 1-for-8 with the man-advantage.
Canisius and Mercyhurst complete the home-and-home weekend at the Buffalo State Sports Arena Saturday night. Game time is set for 7 p.m.