Some days, things just don't go your way.
And so it went Friday night for the Canisius men's hockey team.
A few costly mental breakdowns, an hour-long delay for repairs to the ice and a hot visiting goaltender added up to a 5-1 loss to Army in front of 354 at the Buffalo State Ice Arena.
It marked the first win for the Black Knights in Buffalo since Nov. 8, 2003. Army, off to its best start since the 1996-97 season, improved to 10-7-3 overall and 8-4-3 in Atlantic Hockey, brining it into a tie with RIT for second place in the conference.
The Golden Griffins meanwhile continued to stumble, suffering their third straight loss and dropping to 4-14-1 overall, 4-9-1 in conference play.
"It's frustrating for everybody on our team," Canisius coach Dave Smith said. "When we do commit to winning the battles, we're in games. The difficulty is in getting them to sustain that for 60 minutes."
While Canisius played a rather disciplined game, occasional mental breakdowns seemed to come at bad times, setting up Army's first period goals.
Midway through the first, Griffs' forward Jaymie Harrington was too casual in his own end while gathering the puck to start a rush. The result was a giveaway to Lyle Gal in the slot and Gal promptly buried the shot for a 1-0 Army lead.
Canisius tied the game on the power play with just over five minutes left in the period when Billy Irish-Baker tipped a shot from Dave Cianfrini.
But Army again capitalized on a Canisius miscue. With the period winding down, Griffs' goalie Andrew Loewen made a save, but allowed play to continue instead of covering the puck for a faceoff. Army kept control and Luke Flicek scored while standing in front of Loewen with 29 seconds left.
That's when the arena itself hit a snag. A large gash in the ice to the left of Loewen caused officials to stop the game after that goal and tack on the remaining 29 seconds to the second period.
But the normal repair procedure along with the Zamboni icing didn't fix the hole. The officials and coaches consulted, more repair measures were taken and an hour later, play resumed.
"I thought we were going to be able to build off that first period," Army coach Brian Riley said. "We seemed to have a lot of energy in the first, but Canisius really came out on us."
In that second period, Canisius generated more and better scoring chances, but Army's sophomore goalie Josh Kassel made several outstanding saves. Kassel has been the backbone of the Black Knights' success, ranking in the national top 30 in save percentage and goals against.
While their goalie was protecting the back end, Army again took advantage of a late-game breakdown by the Griffs. Army's forecheck created another opportunity, this time with Bryce Hollweg notching the goal with 27 seconds left in the second, extending the lead to 3-1.
Brady Dolim scored 3:40 into the third, then added an empty netter to seal the 5-1 win for Army.
"The third period really cost us the game," Smith said.
The two teams meet again tonight at 7 at the Amherst Pepsi Center.
Niagara edges Colgate
HAMILTON -- Ted Cook scored twice and assisted on the other goal as Niagara (12-6-3) rallied for two goals in the third period for a 3-2 win over Colgate (9-11-2) in a nonleague men's hockey game Friday night before 2,036 in Starr Rink.
Chris Moran scored the game winner at 13:11 of the third period and both of Cook's tallies as the Purple Eagles won their fourth in a row and ninth in the last 12 (9-1-2).
All three Niagara goals came on the power play. NU goalie Juliano Pagliero stopped 28 of 30 shots. Mark Dakanich had 30 saves for Colgate.