Canisius lost a meeting of Atlantic Hockey’s top teams Friday night at HarborCenter, losing to Holy Cross, 5-1, while falling out of first place in the conference.
Niagara didn’t fare any better, dropping a 6-2 decision to Army in West Point that continued the Purple Eagles’ slump.
Canisius (13-12-2, 13-8 AHC) was dominated on the stat sheet Friday but can get back into the conference’s top spot with a win in the second game of its series with Holy Cross (12-10-7, 11-6-6) Saturday at 4:35 p.m. But even if Canisius loses to fall four points back, it still has two games in hand.
The Crusaders jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals 90 seconds apart midway through the first period. The second goal came with the man advantage, which was a continuing theme on the night.
Alex Jaeckle’s power-play goal got Canisius back within one later in the first period, and the score remained that way until Holy Cross’ Danny Lopez scored a power-play goal, his second tally of the night, with one second remaining in the second period.
The Crusaders pulled away with another power-play goal and an empty-netter in the third period. Overall, they went 3 for 7 with the man-advantage against Canisius’ penalty kill that ranked 14th nationally at 83.3 percent. Shots were 37-20 Holy Cross.
Niagara started fast when Nic Mucci scored 60 seconds into the game on a goal from Zach Mills and Stanislav Dzakhov, but Army leveled five minutes later and led 2-1 after one.
Niagara tied the game on Ben Sokay’s power-play goal in the second period, but Army took the lead again four minutes later and never looked back, pulling away with three third-period goals.
Niagara (11-16-2, 10-11-2) has fallen to the middle of the pack in the conference, logging just two wins since the first weekend of December. The Purple Eagles are 2-9-1 over that span, with seven of the losses coming in-confernece. Army can pass Niagara with a win in the second game of their series at 7:05 p.m.