Tyler Wiseman was watching the puck and noticed it wobble when a Bentley defender tried to play it at the point.
Wiseman jumped on it and saw an opening up ice. He skated hard, went to the net and finished the play with a goal.
It was his third short-handed goal of the season and it helped spark Canisius to a 2-2 tie with Bentley in front of 608 at Buffalo State Ice Arena on Sunday afternoon.
The junior forward has been a staple of the Golden Griffins penalty-killing unit and had one of his best games of the season as Canisius (8-12-2, 7-6-2 in Atlantic Hockey) picked up a point against the second-place team in the conference.
Wiseman had the goal early in the second period, led Canisius in shots with five, and blocked two shots, including a huge deflection in the final seconds of the third period and in overtime to help preserve the tie.
“Tyler has a very high hockey IQ, very good stick skills and he’s very quick with his feet,” Canisius coach Dave Smith said. “You saw tonight he picks off a pass and he has the ability to get in and finish it. When he’s playing tenacious and attacking the net, he’s got wonderful skills and abilities.”
Wiseman has goals in the last two games, scoring his lone even-strength goal of the season in the 4-1 loss to Bentley on Saturday.
Last month, he scored the first five-on-three short-handed goal in the Griffs’ Division I era in a win at Army.
Wiseman is tied with seven other players for the most short-handed goals in the nation.
“It’s just one of those seasons,” Wiseman said. “Coach has me out there because he thinks I have a high hockey IQ. I can read plays.
“I also have pretty good speed. I get my sticks in lanes, my body in lanes. I get a lot of blocked shots and those lead to my opportunities for breakaways and two-on-ones on the penalty kill.”
The Griffs played a good overall game Sunday, creating good scoring chances and covering the defensive zone. They blocked 18 shots, the most since they blocked 28 in a win at then-nationally ranked Denver.
“It’s one of the things that falls under the category of team,” Smith said. “It’s being in the right position and then making a commitment to get in the way of pucks. It was noticeable and you could hear it and feel it on the bench as well.”
Patrick Sullivan got the Griffs on the board in the first period with a goal from Kyle Gibbons and Chris Rumble.
Wiseman’s goal at 5:01 of the second extended the lead to 2-0 but Bentley started to create its own momentum. The Falcons got on the board at 11:44 of the second when Jared Rickford took a perfect pass from Brett Gensler and fired a shot past Tony Capobianco.
Gensler then tied the game at 5:48 of the first with a power-play goal after Doug Beck was called for boarding in the offensive zone.
While the Falcons had better scoring chances late in the third and in overtime, Capobianco came up with big saves, and the defense blocked shots to preserve the tie.
“We wanted to prove ourselves and prove we can play as well as any team,” Sullivan said. “We knew they have guys who can score. We did our best but things happen out there that you can’t control sometimes.”
With 16 points, Canisius is three behind Connecticut and a spot in the top four for a first-round playoff bye.
Bentley (12-8-3 overall) is 10-3-3 in Atlantic Hockey and remains two points behind league-leading Mercyhurst.
Canisius gets a home-and-home matchup with Mercyhurst (11-1-3) this week, hosting the Lakers on Thursday and playing in Erie, Pa., on Saturday. The Griffs are the only conference team with a win over the Lakers, earning a 4-3 victory at Buffalo State on Nov. 9.