It was loud. It was crazy. And it was dramatic.
Canisius kicked off its HarborCenter era with a 3-3 overtime tie against Ohio State in front of a sold-out crowd of 2,000 at HarborCenter.
It all started with a crazy opening two minutes that saw the Golden Griffins take a 2-0 lead and chase the Buckeyes’ starting goaltender.
Shane Conacher scored just 22 seconds into the game for Canisius. Doug Beck followed that up with a wraparound goal just 1:27 later.
“That was exciting. If you were late you missed it,” Canisius coach Dave Smith said. “That’s Shane. You can see already in his young career he’s got a sense of the moment.”
“The crowd was awesome tonight and we wanted to bring it for them,” said Conacher, who jumped into the glass by the 700-strong student section to celebrate his first even-strength goal of the season. “Obviously the first two goals were pretty special, getting those first two goals right off the bat.”
Ohio State starter Christian Frey, who began the season on the Mike Richter Award list, was pulled after allowing those two goals on the first two Canisius shots.
Ohio State came back in the second, scoring their first goal at 7:36 on a shot from Matt Johnson. He shot the puck and beat Canisius goalie Keegan Asmundson up high, but the puck bounced out and play continued. The officials went to video replay after the next stoppage in play.
The Buckeyes got the equalizer at 13:18 of the second as Luke Stork scored on a wrist shot coming up the left side.
Then came a wild third period.
Jack Stander scored his first collegiate goal with 6:37 left in the game to give the Griffs a 3-2 lead.
It looked as if Tanner Fritz had tied the game 46 seconds later but after a lengthy video review it was ruled no goal.
There was no question when David Gust scored with 4:01 left in the game, knotting the score, 3-3.
Smith said the momentum swings were not about either team going flat.
“I thought the other team just rose to the moment,” Smith said. “We were down a little bit and we had to scratch and claw to get our momentum back and we did. We did it through just sheer effort.”
Both teams had scoring chances in the five-minute overtime period. Ohio State (3-1-1) had several solid rushes late, but a few great defensive plays by senior captain Doug Jessey kept the Buckeyes from getting clean looks.
“I think we were just trying to keep it simple when it wasn’t going our way,” Jessey said. “Just get it deep. Make sure we’re playing good defense. That’s our No. 1 thing. That’s how we’re going to be successful.”
Conacher finished with two points for Canisius (4-2-1) as did freshman Nolan Sheeran (East Amherst), who now has seven assists on the season.
The two teams meet again tonight at HarborCenter. That game is also a sellout.