Canisius continued its dominance over rival Niagara and solidified its top spot in Atlantic Hockey with an 8-2 win in HarborCenter Saturday afternoon.
The Golden Griffins scored just 1:09 into the game and blew open the game in the first period for a 5-0 lead.
It was the 10th straight win for the Griffs in the series with Niagara and moves them three points head of the Purple Eagles in the Atlantic Hockey standings heading into the semester break.
Canisius is now 10-4-0 in conference play and 10-5-1- overall.
The Purple Eagles were swept for the first time this season, dropping to second place in Atlantic Hockey at 8-4-1 and 9-7-1 overall.
Getting the jump on it: Canisius set the tone just 1:09 into the game when a wrist shot from Grant Meyer went past Niagara goalie Brian Wilson.
Extending the lead: Casey Jerry then scored his first goal of the season at 10:21 as the Griffs speedy offense was all over pucks in the Niagara zone.
Then it got silly: Dylan McLaughlin scored a power play goal at 14:25, chasing Niagara starter Brian Wilson. Backup David Krejcik didn't fare much better. Canisius continued to get behind the Niagara defense. Mike Sabatini scored at 15:39 then McLaughlin added his second of the period at 17:09.
On the board: Niagara got on the board at 7:08 of the second period. Sam Rennaker was at the crease and jammed a puck past Canisius goalie Daniel Urbani.
But giving it right back: Just nine seconds later Ryan Schmelzer scored to put Canisius up, 6-1.
Trading more goals: Derian Plouffe made it a 6-2 game, taking a feed from Noah Delmas at 10:37, but again Canisius answered 28 seconds later with a tally from Nick Hutchison. For Plouffe that extended his point streak to seven games with five goals and four assists in that span.
Another goalie change: Niagara put Guillaume Therien in net at 12:37 of the second. The Purple Eagles used all three goaltenders they dressed Saturday.
Make it eight: Jesse Pereira made it an 8-2 Canisius lead at 17:32, capping a three-goal second period for the Griffs.
Suspended: Canisius defenseman David Bennett was suspended for the game by Atlantic Hockey after his hit on Niagara freshman Eric Cooley in Friday's game in Dwyer Arena. Bennett was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for contact to the head on an open-ice hit. Upon reviewing the play, league officials issued the additional discipline.
Cooley did not return to the game on Friday and was not in Saturday's lineup. His status is week-to-week.
Scratches: Canisius scratched David Parrottino, Josh Kielich, David Baskerville, Matt Long, Logan Gestro, Tucker Weppner, Blake Wareham, and Joshua Gabriel. Niagara scratched Larry Smith, Nic Mucci, Justin Kendall, Sam Fuss, Zach Mills, Jack Zielinski, and Joe O'Brien.
Next meeting: The teams meet for another home-and-home series to close out the regular season. The play in HarborCenter at 7:35 p.m. Feb. 23 and in Dwyer Arena at 7:05 p.m. Feb. 24.
Attendance: With 1,814 fans in HarborCenter it was the third largest crowd at the downtown facility for a Canisius hockey game.
Up next: Both teams begin their mid-semester break. Canisius is off until Dec. 30 when it plays at Cornell. That starts a stretch of four non-conference games for the Griffs. They return to Atlantic Hockey play Jan. 12-13 when they host American International.
Niagara returns to action Dec. 29-30 with a pair of non-conference games at Ohio State. The Purple Eagles return to Dwyer Arena on Jan. 5-6 when they host RIT.