BUFFALO, N.Y. — Strong penalty-killing and key saves throughout the game enabled the Canisius Golden Griffins to defeat the visiting Army Black Knights 2-0 Saturday night at the Buffalo State Sports Arena.
“We played very hard and very gritty,” Canisius coach Dave Smith said. “We had really good sticks on the penalty kill and we played very, very determined together.”
Canisius goaltender Andrew Loewen helped his team early as an Army forward circled the back of the net and came out in front just in time to receive the puck. Loewen knocked away the point-blank shot with his pads.
“It’s hard to win a game when you don’t score a goal,” Army coach Brian Riley said. “Loewen made a couple of saves there. You gotta give Canisius all the credit and it certainly starts with him in goal.”
Canisius broke through at :57 of the 2nd period when Cory Conacher took a pass from Matt Zuke at the left point outside of the right circle and fired a shot that went in just under the crossbar. Wes Love also received an assist on the play.
The Griffins got called for penalty after penalty in the first two periods, but each time were able to not only kill them off, but also generate many of their own chances while short-handed.
Just as a five-on-three was expiring for the Black Knights, Loewen made a save with his glove along the ice. The puck reached an Army player on the doorstep of the net but Loewen threw out his glove hand along the ice and blocked the puck from going into the net.
Canisius again scored an early goal at 1:18 of the third period to take the 2-0 lead. Vincent Scarsella took a pass on a two-on-one rush from Cory Conacher and wristed a shot that beat the goaltender. Love tallied his second assist of the night on the goal.
Any chance of an Army comeback was severely limited in the third period as the Black Knights took four straight penalties, including a five-minute major at 18:25.
Both teams were held scoreless on the power play, despite the many opportunities. The Griffins did not convert any of their five chances with the man-advantage while the Black Knights went 0-for-9.
“We certainly didn’t cash in on the opportunities that we had,” Riley said.
Loewen ended the game with 25 saves for his fourth career shutout while Army goaltender Jay Clark made 18 saves.
“I made a couple of saves at the start of the game and got into it early,” Loewen said. “The puck was just finding me tonight. I was fortunate to see where the rebounds went and followed the puck. The times I needed some help out there, the guys were there so it was a great team effort.”
The two teams will face off again tomorrow at 4 p.m. at the Buffalo State Sports Arena. With the win, Canisius moves to 7-5-3 overall and 5-3-1 in Atlantic Hockey play. Army falls to 3-9-1 overall and 3-7-1 in conference play.
“For us, it’s really a one-game season so we’re just gonna have to come out and approach it that way,” Riley said. “I’m confident the guys will come out and work hard and we’re gonna have to find a way to get a couple of pucks in the net.”