WEST POINT, N.Y. — A total of 10 goals were scored Friday night between Canisius and Army, but Canisius, led by the offensive prowess of Kyle Gibbons, scored five unanswered in the third period to beat the Black Knights by an 8-2 count Friday night.
In the first period, the two teams traded goals with the score tied 2-2 going into intermission.
At 3:36, Army’s C.J. Reuschlein came flying down the left side of the ice on a two-on-one. Deciding against the pass, Reuschlein took a low wrist shot along the ice and beat Canisius goaltender Tony Capobianco on the stick side, giving Army the early lead.
Less than a minute later at 4:43, Canisius tallied one of their own to tie it up. Cody Freeman found Kyle Gibbons open in the slot and Gibbons put it top shelf over the right shoulder of Army goaltender Rob Tadazak.
Canisius coach Dave Smith praised Gibbons in his postgame remarks.
“He is an elite hockey player in this league,” said Smith. “The goals he scored tonight were massive goals, to get us back after being down early in the first period was huge and he has scored huge goals for us before.”
Later in the opening period, Canisius grabbed its first lead of the game at 12:36 when Chris Rumble took a quick low wrister from the left point after Army failed to break it out of their own zone.
Just 21 seconds later, Army’s Clint Carlisle made a highlight reel spin-o-rama pass from the right circle to defenseman Christian Pomarico, who had joined the rush. Pomarico buried the puck back-door at 12:57 to tie the game at two.
Things calmed down offensively in the second period, though.
Canisius’ Braeden Rigney scored the only goal of the period to regain the lead at 8:19. Rigney, skating full speed to the net, received a cross-ice pass from Patrick Sullivan and beat Tadazak with a quick release.
In the third period, Canisus put on a scoring clinic, starting off by Gibbons scoring his eighth of the year and 50th career goal. Once again, Gibbons was able to find an opening in the slot where he took a nifty pass from Geoff Fortman and quickly slipped the puck behind Tadazak, making him the AHA leader in goals.
“I didn’t even realize it was 50, one of my teammates had to remind me,” said Gibbons. “Coach is always telling me if talent doesn’t work hard, hard work will beat talent. I mean, if scoring 50 goals were easy, a lot more players would be doing it. I really got to thank the guys I have played with over the years. Cody Freeman has been a huge part of it, also guys like Ralph Cuddemi and Pat Sullivan, those guys and others have really helped me get there.”
Tyler Wiseman added to the lead on a five-on-three shorthanded goal when he caused an Army turnover and backhanded the puck top shelf at 3:11 in the third.
Shane Conacher, Cuddemi and Sullivan also tallied third-period goals for Canisius.
Asked about his team’s impressive third period, Smith attributed their success to fortune and his team’s renewed fortitude in the third.
“We really established our game in the third period,” Smith said. “I thought Army’s effort was excellent. They outshot us in the second period and we were fortunate enough to still be leading 3-2. We just wanted to win the last period like we have done before and we did that and got a bit of puck luck there as well.”
Army coach Brian Riley was not available for a post-game interview.