Ralph Cuddemi scored late in the third period and the Canisius defense kept its poise as the Griffs gutted out a 1-1 tie with Air Force Saturday night in HarborCenter.
Ryan Schmelzer's wraparound was saved by Falcons' goalie Shane Starrett, but the rebound sat in the blue paint to his left. Cuddemi swooped in and fired the puck home with 3:04 left in regulation.
The teams each recorded one shot in the extra period.
Air Force took a 1-0 lead midway through the first period. They held the lead thanks to some gritty defense which included nine blocked shots in the opening 20 minutes.
The Griffs dominated play in the second, holding a 13-6 advantage in shots and generally dictating the pace of the game. But Canisius couldn't find the back of the net and the teams went to the second intermission still trailing, 1-0.
About overtime: This was the fifth OT game for the Griffs this season. They are 1-0-4 in OT games.
First goal: Air Force took a 1-0 lead at 11:28 of the first period when Matt Serratore tipped the puck past Simon Hofley. Jonathan Kopacka and Dylan Abood picked up the assists.
No goal: Early in the second it looked as if Ralph Cuddemi had tied the game on the power play. Teammate celebrated but play went on. The official review saw the puck hit the goaltender's pad then post.
Don't call it a comeback: Canisius was 0-13-0 when trailing after two coming into Saturday's game.
Big save: With 10:35 left in regulation Simon Hofley came up with a big body save on a breakaway by Tyler Ledford who tipped the puck at his own blue line and skated down the left side of the rink. That kept it a 1-0 game.
Conacher-Cuddemi: It was the first time in 88 games that Shane Conacher and Cuddemi did not start on the same line. During that 88-game span the duo combined for 179 points -- 90 from Cuddemi (48 goals, 42 assists) and 89 from Conacher (31 goals, 58 assists). The last time the duo did not start the game on the same line was Jan. 3, 2013, a 4-2 win at Holy Cross. Cuddemi started with Cody Freeman and Patrick Sullivan while Conacher was with Mitch McCrank and Kyle Gibbons.
New line combos: To start the game, Canisius coach Dave Smith split up his top line. Schmelzer centered Mike Sabatini and Nolan Sheeran. Conacher played on the right with David Parrottino and Dylan McLaughlin. Cuddemi played on the right with Felix Chamberland and Jeff Murray.
Homecoming: Air Force defenseman Kyle Mackey has two goals and eight assists on the season for the Falcons. A native of Derby he played 2009-10 for St. Francis. He played with the Buffalo Jr. Sabres before playing junior in the USHL with the Youngstown (Ohio) Phantoms.
Records: The Griffs avoided being swept for the first time at HarborCenter by earning the point. They moved to 8-9-5 in Atlantic Hockey play and 8-15-5 overall. Air Force went to 11-5-4 in conference play and 13-9-4 overall.
Scratches: Canisius scratched forwards Matt McLeod, Daniel LaFontaine and Josh Supryka and defensemen Ian Edmondson and David Bennett.
Counting the house: There were 1,571 in HarborCenter Saturday night.
Up next: Canisius has a bye week then travels to play Bentley for a two-games series Feb. 12-13. Air Force hosts RIT Feb. 5-6.