NEVILLE TWP., Pa. — The Canisius Golden Griffins didn’t look like a team coming off of a 250-plus day layoff, defeating the Robert Morris Colonials by a score of 5-2 on Friday evening.
“I think they wanted it more,” Derek Schooley said. “Give Canisius a lot of credit, I thought they were the better team and got what they deserved. We didn’t do a good job of picking men up on a couple of goals coming back into our zone. They were hungry, it was their first game and they were ready to go.”
The Griffins showed speed and determination in the win, capitalizing on nearly every chance they earned. Following a stretch of minutes that saw teams tied at one goal apiece, Canisius blew open a close game with three straight goals during a 16 minute span during the second and third periods. The Colonials were able to crawl back into the contest with a third period tally from Darcy Walsh, who touched the puck last during a wild goalmouth scramble to trim the Griffin lead to two, but were unable to draw any closer the rest of the way.
PUSHING THE PACE
The Griffins were a stride faster from the drop of the puck, bolting over the Colonial line with one rush after another, a theme that was common throughout the contest. Senior forward Matt Long gave Canisius the early lead, banging in a loose puck at 10:33 of the opening frame. The lead was short lived as the red hot Nick Jenny beat starting Griffin goaltender Jacob Barczewski with a long, hard shot from just inside the blue line during a power-play less than two minutes later. From that point, the Griffins looked like the hungrier team with the Colonials unable to capitalize on chances. Canisius then jumped in front on a Grant Meyer goal at 14:38 of the second period.
“They pushed the pace today on us,” Schooley added. “We had some bad reads on pinches and we gave up too much and we left our young goaltender out to dry way too much. We have to push the pace a bit more and we had some guys that looked a bit slow tonight and didn’t look ready to play so we’ll make sure we’re ready to play tomorrow.”
CLOSING IT OUT
The Colonials missed a golden opportunity to tie the game in the third, as :44 of power play time awaited them, but were not able to beat Barczewski who wound up stopping 35 shots on the night. Meanwhile, the Griffins brought their appetite and cashed in on goals as Matt Long netted his second goal of the night, beating freshman netminder Noah West with a hard shot from the top of the slot to double his team’s lead. The knockout blow was delivered by Austin Alger, pushing the puck past West on a breakaway to make it a 4-1 contest at 9:49 of the third period.
“We’ll go back and watch the video and see what our issues were,” Schooley remarked. “We’ll asses it and make some changes whether it’s personnel or to our system tomorrow.
For the game, the Griffins outshot their counterparts by a 46-37 margin in a solid performance that the Colonials will have to match as the two teams conclude their weekend series on Saturday afternoon at 4:05 p.m. at the Island Sports Center.