It's always about the next shift.
Mercyhurst had erased a three-goal Canisius lead when Derek Barach scored with 7:27 left to play to tie the game, capping a strong push back by the Lakers.
But the Golden Griffins had some push back of their own.
On the next shift, Shane Conacher's forecheck earned him the puck deep in the Mercyhurst zone. When the puck came to Mike Sabatini in front of the net, he used a quick shot to beat goalie Adam Carlson. The goal stood as the game-winner as the Griffs defeated Mercyhurst, 4-3, at HarborCenter Friday night.
"Shane went on a good fore check and I just went to the net," Sabatini said. "I called for it and he squired it out for me. It popped out right and I just tried to place it in the corner. I think it went right post then left post then in. A little pinball."
It was the second goal for the sophomore this season and third of his career.
Sabtini " had his best week of practice in two years so it’s not surprising," coach Dave Smith said. "He was skating better. He was getting his shot away. He has a great but sometimes he doesn't get it away. It finds the net when he gets it away. He was moving well, he’s very responsible defensively and just looked good this week."
On the board: The Griffs opened the scoring when Ryan Schmelzer drove the net and put in a pass from Shane Conacher with Ralph Cuddemi getting the secondary assist. No surprise. The Griffs' top line entered the game accounting for 77.8 percent of the team's goals this season.
First career goal: Freshman Felix Chamberland jumped over the boards for the Canisius power play, skated to the right faceoff circle and promptly ripped a pass from Conacher into the back of the net.
Cuddemi doesn't like green: Senior Ralph Cuddemi gave Canisius a 3-0 lead with the team's first shorthanded goal of the season. The puck had cleared the Canisius zone and Cuddemi skated hard down the length of the ice. Lakers' goalie Brandon Wildung went out to play the puck but Cuddemi kept pursuing. He pressured Wildung who turned the puck over and Cuddemi took advantage of the empty net. It was the senior's 12th career goal against Mercyhurst in 13 games.
Second period melee: With 48 seconds left in the second period, Kane Elliot got a puck past Canisius goalie Simon Hofley but the officials waived it off. Then tempers flared and bodies and equipment started flying. All 10 skaters on the ice at the time received two minutes for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct. For the Griffs it was Conacher, Cuddemi, Geoff Fortman, Cameron Heath and Schmelzer, with Schmlezer getting an extra two for slashing. Getting 12 minutes each of penalties for the Lakers were Elliot, Kyle Cook, Derek Barach, Lester Lancaster and Philippe Drouin.
"I mean I’m not one to enjoy watching the guys skate around while I have to sit and watch but it’s just more protecting the guys on our team," Cuddemi said. "You see a guy get pushed into the goalie, you just protect your goalie, protect your other teammates. We all kind of read off each other and it was one go, all go. It’s not the greatest thing to sit in the box for 12 minutes but I guess that’s the referees decision."
Oh and by the way: A video review ruled Elliot's goal good, cutting the Canisius lead to 3-1.
First career win: Hofley made 39 saves to earn his first collegiate win.
Counting the house: 1.327
Up next: The teams meet again at 7:35 p.m. Saturday in HarborCenter.