On Friday night, Canisius routed American International College. Their 8-1 decision looked emphatic and the second-seeded Golden Griffins seemed bound again for the Atlantic Hockey semifinals.
Not so fast.
AIC came out strong Saturday night in HarborCenter and earned a 2-1 overtime win over the Griffs. The win forces a deciding game in the best-of-three quarterfinal series at 7:05 p.m. Sunday in HarborCenter.
The Yellow Jackets dominated the first period, outshoogint the Griffs 12-3 and taking a 1-0 lead. The goal came at 4:52 of the opening period when Janis Jaks scored on the power play.
American International continued strong play in the second period with a 17-7 advantage in shots, but Canisius goaltender Daniel Urbani turned aside those shots.
The Griffs found the equalizer early in the third period when Cameron Heath scored at 2:36, set up by Grant Meyer and Jimmy Mazza. Canisius found its legs in the third period, but the game went to overtime.
Shawn McBride scored at 8:06 to win the game for AIC. He gathered a loose puck off a shot by Patrik Demel for the tally.
Canisius, which won the regular season title last year but lost in the semifinals, needs to win Sunday to punch its ticket back to Rochester’s Blue Cross Arena for Atlantic Hockey. The Griffs are now 18-16-2.
Top-seeded Mercyhurst advanced to the semifinals, sweeping Sacred Heart in its quarterfinal series while No. 7 Robert Morris ousted No. 3 Holy Cross. The other quarterfinal between Army West Point and Air Force will also go to a deciding thrid game after Army’s 1-0 win on Saturday.
American International (15-19-4) won its first-ever playoff series last weekend when it swept Niagara to advance to the quarterfinal round.