The Canisius Golden Griffins and Robert Morris Colonials series began on Friday with both teams looking to pick up crucial conference points. The Colonials needed the points to try and get a first round bye in the Atlantic Hockey playoffs, while the Griffs needed the points to try and get a first round home series. The series ended with Canisius getting only one point of a possible six, but had a few calls by the officials gone the other way, the series would’ve resulted in a split.
Game one in Buffalo saw Jacob Barczewski go for the Griffs, and Reid Cooper start for the Colonials. With Robert Morris’ backup in net, things would seem to be easier on the team in blue and gold. A scoreless first period was highlighted by excellent neutral ice play and goaltending.
The second period saw much of the same due to both team’s excellent penalty kills including a 5-on-3 powerplay the Griffs failed to score on. The Griffs were finally able to find the back of the net when Mitchell Martan got the puck in the slot and beat Cooper to his glove side to give the Griffs a 1-0 lead.
That 1-0 lead lasted all of zero seconds because the officiating crew got together to conduct a four-minute video review to see whether or not Canisius had too many men on the ice prior to the goal. The Griffs did have too many men on the ice prior to the goal, but the officials didn’t see it and the goal was taken back and the score remained tied at zero.
Robert Morris finally found the back of the net early in the third period when a turnaround shot from Aidan Spellacy was tipped by Darcy Walsh behind Barczewski to make it 1-0. This goal, unlike most this weekend, stood as called.
With time dwindling and Canisius needing a goal to tie it, sophomore Kevin Obssuth stepped up and fired a rocket wrist-shot from the top of the circle to tie the game 1-1. The goal came off a Robert Morris turnover, so the officiating crew reviewed the goal to see if they missed a potential offside.
With a few more minutes passing as they reviewed the incredibly close angles, the play looked inconclusive, which in all cases would require the call on the ice to stand. Despite the look being incredibly inconclusive, the officiating crew disagreed and called off the goal. Robert Morris would keep their 1-0 lead.
With just over three minutes left, Canisius tied the game on a goal from Obssuth that would actually stand. Obssuth received a cross-crease pass from freshman David Melaragni and he buried it into the open net.
With the game going into overtime, the refs missed a loose puck that would’ve given Robert Morris the win in overtime. With Robert Morris driving to the net trying to bury the game winner, Jacob Barczewski stayed hard on his post to make a solid save, however the puck was loose for Robert Morris to put into the open net. Despite the puck being visible, the whistle was blown, and Robert Morris was robbed of a game-winning goal as well.
After five minutes of 3-on-3 overtime, the game headed to a sudden-death shootout. In the shootout, Canisius went first and couldn’t find the back of the net. This set the stage for Aiden Beck, who beat Barczewski on the backhand to earn the extra point for the Colonials.
In game two at Robert Morris, the Colonials won 4-3 against the Griffs on a last minute goal. Junior Grant Meyer, sophomore Kevin Obssuth and freshman Ryan Miotto found the back of the net for the Griffs in the effort. Roman Kraemer, Michael Coyne and Luke Lynch all found the back of the net during the second period for the Colonials, and Daniel Mantenuto scored a 5-on-3 power-play goal with 52 seconds left in the third period to break the 3-3 tie.
“That was a playoff-style hockey game with lots of emotion. It was a back-and-forth game.” head coach Trevor Large told GoGriffs.com. “It’s not an excuse and we’re not playing referee, but it has felt like every review went against us this weekend and it’s a tough pill to swallow for our guys, because we’re scratching and clawing and these are good preparation games for what’s about to happen with Mercyhurst next weekend and then as we get into the playoff season, these are the types of games that you’re going to have to win.”