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Canisius drops rematch with Lakers

On Friday night, Canisius jumped ahead of Mercyhurst, gave up that lead by the third period, but bounced right back to win.

On Saturday night when the same two teams left, it was Mercyhurst’s turn to take the early lead. But there was no big comeback coming from the Golden Griffins.

Canisius dropped a 4-1 decision to the Lakers in HarborCenter to split the weekend matchup. The Griffins dropped to 3-8 on the season and 3-3 in Atlantic Hockey. Mercyhurst improved 8-6, 5-3 in Atlantic Hockey. These are the only games on the regular season schedule between the two teams.

Perhaps the key statistics of the game concerned special teams. Mercyhurst went 2 for 4 on the power play, while Canisius was 0 for 6.

“Tonight’s their power play beat out power play,” Griffins coach Dave Smith said. “We did things that controlled the game. But they got two power-play goals in the first, and that was enough of a cushion to hold on to the win.

“The upside is that we improved a lot from last weekend, but the puck just didn’t fall our way tonight.”

All the scoring came in the first period. Lester Lancaster opened the scoring for the Lakers with only 1:08 gone. Then with about eight minutes elapsed, Jack Riley scored on the power play to double the Mercyhurst lead.

Canisius got one of those goals back with a little more than 11 minutes left in the period, as Mike Sabatini’s shot found the net. It was his third goal of the season. On a rush, Sabatini fired a wrist shot from high in the slot, and it found the net. Juniors Josh Kielich and Geoff Fortman both registered assists on the first-period goal.

But Lancaster got that one back with another power-play score by Lancaster, his fifth of the season. The first period ended 3-1.

Reilly Turner came on in the Canisius goal in relief of Simon Hofley. He blanked the Lakers in the second period, but the Golden Griffins couldn’t give him any help. .

It was more of the same in the third period. Canisius was particularly frustrated with the inability to make a dent with the extra man. The Griffs were 0 for 5 on the power play in the final two periods.

Canisius pulled its goalie with about three minutes to go. Mercyhurst foiled that strategy when Kyle Dutra scored into an empty net.

The Canisius home stand will continues on Friday night, when Army comes to town to play at HarborCenter. Friday’s game is at 4:05 p.m., while Saturday’s game starts at 7:35 p.m.