BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Sacred Heart men's hockey team trailed the Canisius Golden Griffins 2-0 less than three minutes into Sunday's game at Buffalo State Ice Arena, but rallied to win 3-2 to split the weekend series. Junior Drew George (Regina, Sask.) scored the game-winning goal with 3:01 remaining in the third period.
Canisius (8-11-1, 7-5-1 AHA) took advantage of an early first period power play to take a 1-0 lead. Ralph Cuddemi scored eight seconds into the man advantage at the 18:50 mark to give the Golden Griffins the lead. Ryan Bohrer then made the score 2-0 with 17:10 remaining in the period, firing a Braeden Rigney shot past Sacred Heart (6-16-0, 5-10-0 AHA) goaltender Andrew Bodnarchuk (Saskatoon, Sask.). The Pioneers then started turning up the offense, putting 13 of its 16 shots in the opening period on net after the second Golden Griffins goal. Jeff Carroll (Kingston, Ont.) got Sacred Heart on the scoreboard with 1:12 left in the period, knocking in the rebound of a Justin Danforth (Oshawa, Ont.) shot, making the score 2-1.
The Pioneers opened the second period with a 5-on-3 power play as Rigney was called for tripping with 17 seconds left in the first. Sacred Heart capitalized, with Will Rayner (Needham, Mass.) scoring his fifth power play goal of the season to tie the game 2-2 with 18:42 to play in the period. Danforth and Mitch Nylen (Lawrenceville, Ga.) had assists on the power play tally, which snapped an 0-for-43 stretch on the power play for Sacred Heart that covered nine games. Each team had two power plays in the second period, but the score remained 2-2 heading into the third period.
Both teams were desperate to get the go-ahead goal in the third period, combining for 26 shots in the final 20 minutes. Bodnarchuk and Canisius goalie Keegan Asmundsen were equal to the task, making save after save. With 3:01 remaining, Drew George (Regina, Sask.) picked off a Canisius pass in the neutral zone and scored on a breakaway to give the Pioneers' a 3-2 lead. Bodnarchuk made the lead hold up, making four saves in the last three minutes to give Sacred Heart the win.
The Pioneers' win on Sunday was their first over Canisius since Feb. 1, 2008, a span of 11 games.Sacred Heart outshot Canisius 36-30 on Sunday. The Pioneers were 1-for-7 on the power play with the Golden Griffins going 1-for-4. Bodnarchuk made 28 saves for the win, including 14 in the third period. Asmundson had 33 saves for Canisius.
The Pioneers are back out on the road next weekend to take on the Air Force Falcons. The two-game series begins on Friday, Jan. 17 with a 9:05 p.m. game in Colorado Springs.