MINNEAPOLIS — Union dominated play en route to a 2-0 win over Canisius in the consolation game of the Dodge Holiday Classic Friday at Mariucci Arena.
Despite a 29-5 shot advantage, the Dutchmen failure to extended the lead to two goals left the game in doubt headed into the third.
It wasn’t until 19:41 when Olivier Bouchard netted his second goal of the game on an empty net before all doubt was eliminated.
“It took us a very long time to get the second goal. We worked hard. We knew we were going to win,” said Bouchard, who had the only two goals for the weekend for the Dutchmen,.
The Dutchmen dominated territorially throughout the game, attempting 77 shots on the game to the Griffins’ 23.
“I thought we were on our toes most of the night. We wanted them put them on their heels,” said Union head coach Nate Leaman.
It was a stark contrast to Thursday night’s effort by Union, an 8-0 loss to host Minnesota. Friday, the Dutchmen stayed out of the penalty box while their opponents found themselves repeatedly shorthanded.
“Tonight wasn’t our best effort.” said Griffs coach Dave Smith. “It was a tough game to get our game plan going, taking a penalty 20 seconds in and being shorthanded most of the second period.”
Scoring opened at 8:07 of the first, when Bouchard cashed in on one of a number of early Union chances, a rebound tap-in off a sidewall shot from T. J. Fox.
It was just the Dutchmen’s third shot on net of the period, despite having the puck in the Griffins’ zone for most of the play.
Canisius’ only serious scoring chance of the first came as Fred Coccimiglio lunged at the puck in the crease with his stick, as though he were playing billiards. The slow-moving roller was kicked aside by Union netminder Kris Mayotte.
The period ended with Union leading in shots on goal 9-2..
The Dutchmen continued to control play in the second and started to put rubber on net, stretching their shot lead to 20-3 at the halfway point of the game but failing to get another goal.
Canisius’ rushes up ice were few and far between, and when they made the journey down the Olympic-size sheet, often failed to get the puck on net. The Griffs, playing on their heels, took eight penalties trying to slow the Dutchmen down in the second period, allowing 20 shots on net — but no goals.
Canisius’ best chances of the second came on two separate two on one shorthanded breaks. Freshman Spencer Churchill led the charge on the first but overskated the puck as he tried to break around a sprawling defenseman.
Sophomore Joel Kitchen led a second shorthanded rush and forced Mayotte to make a pad save at his ankles. The rebound came right back through Kitchen but he could not put his stick on the puck.
“I knew the ‘D’ was taking the back-door guy. I knew they where going to come up the middle,” said Mayotte on his read.
Meanwhile, the Dutchmen peppered Canisius goaltender Dan Giffin, forcing him into highlight-reel saves, including stuffing Bouchard by stacking the pads on another feed from Fox.
“That was a golden chance. The goalie made a great move.” said Bouchard.
The 12-save shutout was Mayotte’s fourth of the season.
Next weekend, Canisius will travel to American International, while Union plays host to Harvard and Dartmouth.