For just the fourth time in the series history, Canisus and Niagara skated to a tie. Shane Conacher’s goal late in the second period knotted the game at 3-3 and neither team could capitalize on it opportunities in the third.
It was just the fifth overtime game in the series.
First goal: Dylan McLaughlin picked up a loose puck and wrapped around the net to score just 1:12 into the game, giving Canisius a 1-0 lead. It was the eighth straight game the Griffs have scored the first goal. For McLaughlin, it was his seventh point in the last four games.
Tie game: Derian Plouffe used his speed to create a break and beat Simon Hofley high to tie the game for Niagara with 1:08 left in the first. It came after Niagara had a series of good scoring chances only to be blanked by Hofley and a timely Canisius defense.
Wild second period: Momentum shifts were big in the second. Canisius again came out with a strong start and took a 2-1 lead on a goal by Daniel Lafontaine. Then in the final five minutes it got a little crazy. Niagara tied the game on the power play using beautiful passing to set up Sean King. Just 2:22 later Niagara took its first lead of the weekend when Tanner Lomsnes picked up a rebound behind the net and had an open look to tuck the puck in.
But wait! Canisius tied the game with 21.8 seconds left in the second. Ryan Schmelzer picked off the puck in front of his bench and fed an open Conacher who buried the breakaway. That was Conacher’s 16th goal of the season and 33rd of his career. He now has 93 career points.
Records: Niagara picked up its first point in six games and moved to 3-11-2 in Atlantic Hockey and 3-16-3 overall. Canisius moved to 7-8-3 in conference play and 7-14-3 overall.
Scratches: Canisius forward Cody Boyd served his one-game suspension for a hit on Niagara goaltender Jackson Teichroeb in Thursday’s game. Also scratched for the Griffs were Ian Edmondson, Josh Kielich, Josh Supryka and Cameron Heath. Niagara scratched Guillaume Therien, Devin Campbell, Nick Cecere, Robert Angiolella, Albin Karlsson, Luke Edwards, Brock Edwards and Chris Paulin.
Counting the house: An afternoon crowd of 1,471 was in the HarborCenter.
Up next: Both teams are on the road next weekend (Jan. 22-23) with Canisius playing at Holy Cross and Niagara at Air Force. The next home game for Canisius will be Jan. 29 when the Griffs host Air Force while Niagara returns to Dwyer Jan. 29 to host Army.