Because what would be a Canisius-Niagara series without a decisive Game Three?
The Golden Griffins forced the decisive game with a 1-0 win over Niagara at HarborCenter Saturday night.
The win ties the first-round Atlantic Hockey playoff series at a game apiece. The winner of Sunday’s Game Three will advance to the quarterfinal round.
Dylan McLaughlin got Canisius on the board at 12:42 of the second when he took a pass from Felix Chamberland in front of Niagara goaltender Jackson Teichroeb. McLaughlin lifted the puck over a sprawling Teichroeb for his eighth goal of the year.
McLaughlin's goal came a shift after senior Ralph Cuddemi was stymied on two quality scoring chances hitting the post then shooting wide when he had Jackson Teichroeb out of position.
Niagara poured on the pressure in the third period starting with a blast from Nick Cecere a minute into to the third which rang of the post. The Purple Eagles had plenty of scoring chances, but Simon Hofley made 33 saves for the shutout.
First period: It was an even and scoreless opening 20 minutes with Niagara holding a slim, 10-9, advantage in shots. The Purple Eagles went 0 for 1 on the power play while Canisius was 0 for 2. Niagara was again aggressive in the defensive zone, blocking eight shots.
Let’s play three: This will be second straight year Niagara has played a third and deciding game in the first round on the road. The Purple Eagles won at Holy Cross in 2015, winning the first game (2-1) losing the second (2-1 in triple OT) and winning the finale (5-3).
Hope alive: Canisius kept its playoff hopes alive with the win. The Griffs have not been bounced from the first round of the Atlantic Hockey tournament since 2012. Canisius has advanced the past three seasons to the conference final four at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester.
Up next: The Griffs forced a deciding Game Three which will be at 5:05 p.m. Sunday in HarborCenter.