WORCESTER, Mass. — Two power-play goals were enough for Canisius to defeat first-place Holy Cross 3-1 Saturday evening at the Hart Center. Canisius (9-18-1, 7-14-1 Atlantic Hockey) has now won four of its last five games and handed Holy Cross (20-7-1, 16-5-1) its first loss in nine games. The Griffs defeated the Crusaders for the first time in 15 games with the last win coming January 18, 2002, in Worcester.
For the second straight game, the Griffs got on the board first with a power-play goal. Junior forward Michael Cohen set up senior defenseman Tim Songin for a one-timer. Songin sent in the one-timer, and it was redirected into the net by senior forward Andrew Dawe. The assist for Cohen extended his point streak to five games, which ties his career high, and the assist for Songin extended his point streak to four games, which is a career high.
The Griffs got their second goal on a power play, also for the second consecutive game. Junior forward Billy Irish-Baker led Canisius on a four-on-two rush. Billy Irish-Baker found his brother Brandon Irish-Baker, who hit senior Fred Coccimiglio in the right circle. Coccimiglio put the puck into the upper right corner of the net to give the Blue and Gold a 2-0 lead.
Holy Cross cut the deficit in half with its own power-play goal at the 12:14 mark of the second period in a four-on-three situation. After a number of close shots on freshman goaltender Dan Giffin, Holy Cross forward Pierre Napert-Frenette sent a shot into a wide open right side of the net for his 12th goal of the season.
Canisius put the game away with 3:31 remaining when Billy Irish-Baker scored on a breakaway on Holy Cross goaltender Ben Conway for his first goal since Dec. 29, 2005 — a span of 17 games.
Giffin (5-8-0) made 39 saves to get the win while Conway (5-4-0) made 18 in the loss.
On the game, the Griffs killed 10-of-11 power plays, including two separate stretches where Holy Cross had a five-on-three advantage. The Griffs have killed 68 of the past 71 power-play opportunities. On the weekend, Canisius had four power-play goals against a Holy Cross penalty kill unit that came into the weekend ranked second nationally in penalty kill.