March 7, 2014

Pioneers Blanked At Canisius 3-0 in Game One of First Round AHA Tournament Series

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Sacred Heart men's hockey team was shutout in game one of its first round Atlantic Hockey Tournament series at Canisius 3-0 Friday night at Buffalo State Sports Arena.

Canisius (13-19-3) came out fast and fired two shots in the first minute, both of which were stopped by Sacred Heart (12-23-0) goaltender Alex Vazzano (Trumbull, Conn.). The Pioneers had their first shot on goal with 14:37 remaining in the period when Spencer Graboski (Quesnel, B.C.) fired a shot from the wing that was saved by Canisius' Tony Capobianco. Justin Danforth had a couple opportunities to score 13 minutes into the period, but one on a 3-on-2 went wide and the other was stopped by Capobianco. Drew George (Regina, Sask.) made a good hesitation move in the slot with 6:20 left in the first, but his shot went wide. The Golden Griffins outshot the Pioneers 8-6 in the first period, but neither team found the net heading into the intermission.

Shane Conacher put Canisius on the board 2:12 into the second period. With the Golden Griffins on the power play, Conacher fired a low slap shot from Kyle Gibbons past Vazzano to make the score 1-0. Justin Danforth tried to level the game 0:40 later, but his one-timer was kicked away by Capobianco. George and Coltyn Hansen (South Delta, B.C.) each had opportunities on goal halfway through the period  stopped by the Canisius goalie. The Pioneers had nine shots in the second frame but couldn't score as Canisius took a 1-0 lead into the third period.

Sacred Heart came out firing in the third, with four shots in the first five minutes. Danforth had a one-timer from Jeff Carroll stopped by Capobianco, as Graboski and Jake Lynes (Ellicott City, Md.) were also robbed. The Golden Griffins extended the lead with 13:38 to play when Tyler Wiseman knocked home the rebound of a Taylor Law shot, making the score 2-0. The Pioneers' best chance to get back in the game came with 6:00 left when Danforth was denied in a goalmouth scramble as he tried for Sacred Heart's first goal. Kyle Gibbons tacked on an empty net goal in the final two minutes to make the final score 3-0.

Canisius outshot Sacred Heart 28-27 for the game. The Golden Griffins were 1-for-2 on the power play as the Pioneers were scoreless on two power plays. Capobianco made 27 saves for the shutout as Vazzano had 25.

Game two of the best-of-three series is Saturday night at 7:05 p.m.