Ice Griffs suffer heartbreaking weekend sweep to Army

Ice Griffs suffer two heartbreaking losses to Army this weekend, fall to 1-5 in conference play.

Matt Hoover carries the puck up ice during a game against Union Nov. 2. The Griffs won, 4-0. Photo courtesy of Dean Bogart.

The Griffs surrendered two devastating loses to the now number one team in the Atlantic Hockey Conference in Army. The Griffs rough start on Friday included getting outscored 2-0 in the first period by Army, while only registering two shots on goal. 

Army received both goals from Dominic Franco and Zach Evancho in the first, finding a way to break through sophomore goaltender Matt Ladd. The two goals against Ladd came after Freshman goaltender Jacob Barczewski, who started the game, went down with an upper-body injury. 

The second period started with Canisius making their second goalie change of the night. After Barczewsli’s injury forced Ladd into action, Large decided to replace Ladd with Daniel Urbani to start the period. Things got slightly better as the Griffs put up more shots and denied Army from extending their lead. The period was a slower period with a lot of whistles and the score remained the same as a result.

The Griffs found a way to get things going in the third, a common trend with the group. The team has seemingly produced well in the third frame of most games, and this one was no different. Army’s seemingly impenetrable penalty kill proved to be relatively pedestrian against the Griffs, and a slew of penalties put the Griffs right back into the game. 

Junior forward Grant Meyer began a quick strike sequence just 2:20 into the frame when he slid the puck between Army goaltender Trevin Kozlowski’s legs on a breakaway. Senior defender Matt Stief rifled a wicked wrist shot through traffic during a 4-on-3 powerplay to tie the game at two 6:27 into the third. Just 1:54 later Matt Hoover one-timed a puck over the glove of Kozlowski from the top of the right face-off circle to give the Griffs their first lead of the night.

With all the momentum on the Griffs side seemingly, a jam-play in front of the net for Army caught goaltender Daniel Urbani out of position as Michael Wilson tied the game at three for Army. The heartbreaking moment of the weekend came with just three seconds left in the game when Army’s Eric Butte broke the tie to give the Black Knights a 4-3 regulation win. 

A hard fought game with momentum changes left and right saw Canisius who overcame a 2-0 lead not get a single point in conference play. The two teams met the following day for a second match.

The second game was eerily similar to the first, with Army jumping out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Michael Wilson and Zach Evancho. The Griffs rallied from 2-0 down again to tie the game in the second on goals from Lee Lapid and Ryan Miotto. 

Lapid’s goal made it 2-1 when he jammed in his own rebound past Trevin Kozlowski, and Miotto’s goal was a unique one as well. Ryan Miotto recorded his first career collegiate goal while the Griffs were short handed 5-on-3, an incredibly rare type of goal.

Despite another comeback and momentum on the side of the Griffs again, Army would break through late again to beat Urbani to seal a win. Eric Butte, the thorn in the Ice Griffs side, would score his second game-winning goal of the weekend to seal a six point weekend for Army. Two close games for Canisius, zero conference points to show for it.

“We’re really trying to find a way to win.” Large told “It feels like we’re very close. We need to continue with a lot of what we’re doing, but we also need to add about one percent more. One percent more per guy and the results will come for us.” 

Canisius faces off against the 2019 AHC regular season and tournament champion AIC for a two game road series this Friday and Saturday. 

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