Jan. 17, 2009

Courtesy of Canisius

USAF Academy, Colo. – The Canisius College hockey team scored three goals in a 67-second span during the final three minutes of regulation to upset nationally-ranked Air Force, 5-4. The Griffs defeated the 15th-ranked Falcons for their first victory against ranked team in the program’s history. Canisius improved to 8-8-4 on the season and 6-6-2 in Atlantic Hockey play.

“It is a great win. It is hard to describe this victoyr. It took everybody. Everybody gave trem effort. We stuck to our game plan and we were rewarded in the end.


Freshmen Adam Brace (Cobeden, Ontario) scored his second goal of the evening with just 1;50 left in regulation to help the Griffs earn the victory. Freshman Dave Kostuch (Richmond Hill, Ontario) scored two goals and junior Carl Hudson (Smooth Rock Falls, Ontario) also added a score. Junior Josh Heidinger (Buffalo, N.Y.) paced the Canisius attack with three assists.


Freshman Dan Morrison (London, Ontario) posted 23 of his 38 saves in the final period to earn the victory.


The Falcons (15-5-1, 12-2-1 Atlantic Hockey) opened the scoring 8:19 into the contest when Jacques Lamoureux scored his NCAA-leading 18th goal of the season. Josh Frider centered the puck in front of the goal and Lamoureux slipped it in past Morrison for the early advantage. Air Force stretched its lead to two with 5:08 left in the period when Greg Burgdoerfer knocked in a loose puck right in front of the net.


The Griffs took advantage of their seventh power play of the game to cut the Air Force advantage to one, 2-1. Junior Dave Cianfrini (Dundas, Ontario) intercepted a clearing pass and the puck found its way to Heidinger. The junior then skated toward the goal and found Brace open in front of the crease. The freshman then found the back of the net for his second goal of the season with 8:08 remaining in the second stanza.


The Falcons reclaimed its two-goal advantage with a short-handed tally. Matt Fairchild intercepted a clearing pass and back-handed a shot past Morrison with 4:22 left in the second. On another Canisius power play, Kostuch escaped the Falcon defense and skated in on a breakaway. An Air Force defense brought the freshman down and the Canisius rookie was rewarded a penalty shot with 1:13 remaining in the second period. Kostuch took advantage and beat the Air Force goalie with a back-hand shot.


Air Force added a power play goal with 8:53 contest when Frider tipped in a Lamoureux shot but the Griffs would come back. Hudson fired in his seventh goal of the season on the power play to start the Canisius run. Heidinger and junior Jason Weeks (Seattle, Wash.) both posted assists on the score.


Kostuch knotted the game just 35 seconds later. The rookie tipped in a pass from sophomore Cory Conacher (Burlington, Ontario) for his team-leading 14th goal of the season. Sophomore Vincent Scarsella (Lackawanna, N.Y.) also registered an assist on the goal.


Brace gave the Griffs their first lead with just 1:50 left in the game, scoring his first game-winning goal. The freshmen tapped in a loose puck in front of the net as the Griffs grabbed a 5-4 advantage. Weeks and Heidinger both posted assists on the score.


Air Force made a attempt at a comeback, attempting four shots on goal in the final 1:50. The Griffs were whistled for a penalty 47 seconds left but Morrison was up for the challenge and turned away each shot.


“It was a great victory for our school,” Brace said. “Whenever you can beat a ranked team, it is a great feeling. It is especially a good win coming off our last series against Bentley. It feels good to finally contribute to the team’s success.


The Falcons outshot the Griffs 42-25, including a 24-5 edge in the final period of play. Air Force’s Andrew Volkening recorded 20 saves in the defeat. Canisius converted went 2-for-10 on the power play, while the Falcons scored once in four extra-man opportunities.


The teams conclude the two-game set tomorrow night at the Cadet Ice Arena. Game time is slate for 9:05 ET.


Game Notes: Canisius is now 1-13-1 all-time against ranked opponents … The five goals allowed by Air Force was the most this season. Volkening entered the game ranked sixth nationally with a goals against average of 1.63 … The last Griff to attempt and make a penalty shot was Fred Coccimiglio on Jan. 17, 2003 versus Connecticut … Kostuch leads all freshmen nationally with 0.75 goals per game … The Griffs have allowed seven short-handed goals this season … Heidinger tallied three assists in a game for the first time since Feb. 9, 2007.