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Griffs suffer letdown in loss

They didn’t have the same zing.

After a thrilling offensive performance in their HarborCenter opener, the Canisius Golden Griffins faced a more focused Ohio State defense.

As the Buckeyes slowly built a lead, the Griffs were firing pucks from the outside and more often than not into defensive bodies and sticks.

The end result was a 4-1 loss to Ohio State in front of a sellout crowd of 2,000 at HarborCenter Saturday night.

The Griffs had 41 shot attempts but only 21 were on net. Credit a good, aggressive Buckeyes’ defense coupled with a bit of an emotional letdown by Canisius after their 3-3 tie with Ohio State in the building opener.

“They were keeping us on the perimeter even on the power play it was hard to get shots through,” Canisius forward Shane Conacher said. “I feel like we were dead a lot of the game which is tough. We were trying to get up and get motivated but I mean I feel like on the bench we weren’t as lively as we were last night. I mean we’re going to have those games. We have to battle through it.”

“It was nice to see our team respond by blocking shots and doing the little things defensively and our awareness defensively,” Ohio State coach Steve Rohlik said. “The offense will take care of itself but we had to get better back this way and we did.”

While Ohio State shut down the Canisius offense, the team built a 2-0 lead over the first two periods.

The Buckeyes opened the scoring late in the first period when Nick Oddo put in a rebound in front of Griffs’ freshman goalie Reily Turner.

Ohio State extended its lead to 2-0 6:14 into the second. The shot from Josh Healey hit the post to Turner’s stick side. Turner fell on his back to cover it, but Darik Angeli poked underneath the pads to push it across the goal line.

The Griffs still felt they were one shot away until the first three minutes of the third when Ohio State scored twice in a 29-second span for a 4-0 lead.

The Griffs avoided the shutout when senior Braeden Rigney picked up the puck short-handed and fired a shot clean into the net with 4:26 left.

It was the lone offensive highlight for the Griffs, who could use some kick from its power play. The Griffs were 0-for-8 on the man advantage this weekend with just five shots on goal.

“We were close on some early movement on the power play and we just lacked a little confidence on it tonight,” Canisius coach Dave Smith said. “We didn’t have the same zip to the puck and the same execution and all of a sudden one play and it was down. I thought we were in a position to pick them apart and all of a sudden it bounces off a stick. We just didn’t play with the same confidence”

The Griffs return to Atlantic Hockey competition playing at Sacred Heart on Friday and Saturday. They next return to HarborCenter to host RIT, Nov. 14-15.