BUFFALO, N.Y. — A goal by Mike McMillan with 8:35 remaining proved to be the difference as American International defeated Canisius 2-1 Saturday night in the first round of the Atlantic Hockey playoffs at the Buffalo State Sports Arena.
The Griffs (9-23-3) got on the board first with 3:47 left in the first period when Jason Weeks notched his 15th goal of the season. The goal for Weeks, which came on the third power play of the first period for the Griffs, came on a scrum in front of the net and off assists by David Kasch and Carl Hudson.
The Yellow Jackets (8-24-1) tied the game early in the second period on Mark Pavli’s seventh goal of the season. Canisius goaltender Andrew Loewen appeared to make the save but didn’t control the rebound, and Pavli knocked it home.
The decisive goal came when McMillan sent a shot from the right point through a number of players on both teams. The puck found the upper right corner of the net and gave AIC the victory.
“We played very well tonight. We just couldn’t find the goal to make to go up by two goals, take the lead when the game was tied or knot the game after AIC took the lead,” Canisius coach Dave Smith said. “The last straw was a broken stick on a well-designed set play in the closing seconds.”
The Griffs had a faceoff on the left circle in the AIC zone with three seconds remaining after the Yellow Jackets iced the puck. Kasch won the faceoff back to Hudson, who slid it over to Kyle Bushee. Bushee’s stick snapped in half as he attempted the one-timer.
Loewen made 26 saves while AIC goalie Tom Fenton had 29 saves.
Game Notes: Weeks tied for third on the team’s single-season list for goals in a season … Kasch had an assist in three of the last four games and five of the last eight … Canisius dropped its fourth straight postseason game … The three goals were the fewest in a Canisius playoff game since its 1-0 overtime victory over Quinnipiac in the 2004 Atlantic Hockey quarterfinals, which is the team’s last postseason win … Kasch was 17-for-25 on faceoffs in the game, including 9-for-12 in the third period.