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Schmelzer’s goal in OT wins for Canisius; Niagara loses

Ryan Schmelzer scored at 2:44 of overtime to give Canisius a 2-1 hockey victory over Holy Cross at the Hart Center in Worcester, Mass., on Saturday night after the teams had played to a 2-2 tie the night before.

Shane Conacher and Jack Stander assisted on the game-winner.

Stander scored a first-period goal to put the Griffs in the lead with Dylan McLaughlin and Dave Parrottino assisting, but Scott Pooley tied it for the Crusaders on the power play at 2:23 of the second. Both goalies stood out after that.

Freshman goalie Simon Hofley made 42 saves in goal for Canisius after his career-high 49 on Friday night. Williamsville native Paul Berrafato made 24 saves for the Crusaders.

Canisius (8-14-4, 8-8-4 Atlantic Hockey) had three power-play opportunities but failed to cash in. Holy Cross was 1 for 2 with the man advantage.

The faceoff wins were even at 24 apiece.

“After the adversity we faced the last few weeks with a number of players missing time with the flu, to win this game against a really good Holy Cross team is outstanding,” said Canisius coach Dave Smith. “It took a maximum effort for 63 minutes from everybody and I’m excited how our team continues to progress throughout this season.”

Last season, Schmelzer also scored in overtime for a win over Holy Cross. Saturday’s goal was his fifth of the season for the sophomore from Buffalo, who played two seasons of high school hockey at Williamsville East and then played three seasons for the Buffalo Junior Sabres. With the assist, it gives him 21 points. Conacher picked up his 19th assist to give him a team-leading 35 points.

Holy Cross is 11-5-2 in league play.

In Colorado, Air Force scored twice in the third period and completed a two-game sweep of Niagara, 3-1. It was the ninth game without a win for the Purple Eagles (3-19-3, 3-14-2 AHA).

TJ Sarcona’s third goal of the season tied the game at 1-all with 1:24 left in the second period but Phil Boje and Erik Baskin scored at 12:08 and 19:35 (empty net) in the third for the Falcons. Air Force had a power-play tally by Baskin in the opening period. Jackson Teichroeb of Niagara made 23 saves after having to make 43 stops in a 3-0 loss on Friday. Niagara outshot AFA, 30-28, after putting only 14 shots on goal in the series opener.