Ice Griffs split opening series with Robert Morris

Austin Alger scored a goal in the Griffs' season-opening win for the Griffs on Friday. Photo: Canisius Athletics/GoGriffs

By Jon Skuza, Sports Reporter

Canisius hockey opened up the season with a series split against Robert Morris on the road, a win on Friday and a loss on Saturday.

On Friday, Canisius was led by a strong scoring performance by senior Matt Long who had two goals on the night including the game-winning goal. Freshman Max Kouznetsov tallied his first collegiate goal in his first game with the Golden Griffins. Senior Austin Alger and sophomore Keaton Mastrodonato added the other two tallies for Canisius in the win.  

Nick Jenny and Darcy Walsh tallied the two goals for the Colonials as they fell to 2-1 on the young campaign.  

Canisius’ penalty kill was able to stop the Colonials power play for the most part only giving up one power play goal 16 seconds into the first Colonial power play in the first period. However, the Griffs’ power play was not so successful, not scoring on two chances.  

Canisius out-shot the Colonials all game with an impressive 21 shots on goal in the second period and finished the game with 41 shots attempts, while the Colonials put 35 shots on net.

“Our senior class was great tonight.” head coach Trevor Large told GoGriffs.com. “They’re spread throughout our lineup, they’re not together. We have a lot of leadership on this team and those guys are leading the way. They showed up on the game sheet, they showed up on the bench with how we communicate to each other.” 

With the win over Robert Morris, Canisius snapped a four-game losing streak against the Colonials. The win was Canisius’ third victory in 15 tries against RMU at Clearview Arena and the first since a 6-4 victory back on October 9, 2005.

On Saturday, the Griffs fell 5-4 in a back and forth game that led up to a late Robert Morris goal.

Randy Hernandez scored the late goal with 1:29 left in the third period to put the dagger in Canisius’ heart to give the Colonials the win.

Freshman Jami Virtanen, junior Mitchell Martan, Mastrodonato, and senior Grant Meyer tallied goals for the Golden Griffins. Virtanen’s goal was on the powerplay and his first collegiate goal. Mastrodonato tallied his goal during Canisius’ lone penalty kill of the night.

Leading the colonials in scoring were Justin Addamo who tallied two goals and Grant Herbert who finished with a goal and two assists. Hernandez and Jordan Timmons also tallied goals for Robert Morris. 

Dylan Lubbesmeyer recorded 33 saves for the Colonials in rout to their win over Canisius. Meanwhile, sophomore goaltender Jacob Barczewski recorded 30 saves for the Griffs in the loss.

Turnovers early on in the game and some fast breaks by Robert Morris killed Canisius and was one of the reasons why the Griffs lost a tough back-and-forth game. 

“Our effort was not good enough tonight.” Large told GoGriffs.com. “I’m not going to say these words only when we win; we don’t play to play, we play to win. So, we’re disappointed tonight. It was a great hockey game: fast, physical. Two really good teams having a good battle and we came up short. So, we leave disappointed.”  

Canisius returns to action December 10 and 12 with a home-and-home series versus longtime rival Mercyhurst. The Golden Griffins and Lakers open the two-game set Dec. 10 at LECOM HarborCenter before the series shifts to the Mercyhurst Ice Center in Erie, Pa., for the finale.

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