The first of three regular season meetings between Canisius and Niagara begins in about 15 minutes at the Buffalo State Ice Arena.
This will also mark the first time the teams are playing each other as members of the same Division I conference as Niagara joined Atlantic Hockey this season.
The rivalry began in 1997 with Niagara holding a 12-6-1 advantage in the all-time series and a 8-5-1 edge in the Division I era.
While Niagara is just 1-3-2 to stat the season, its power play has been impressive. Canisius (4-2-1) has suffered from slow first period starts but has dominated the third period.
Keys to the game will include special teams, the first 10 minutes of the game and the energy level of the third period. Since both teams played back-to-back home games Friday and Saturday, conditioning could come into play.
Check back for updates throughout the game.
First period: First strike goes to Canisius, just 1:21 into the game. Eric Rex scored on a 2-on-1 from Jordan Mustard. Rex, a senior, now has six points, already matching his career high for points in a season.
15:11 And we have our first controversy in the game. On another aggressive Canisius offensive attack, the goal light came on, but officials on the ice blew the whistle and discussed the play amongst themselves and with the goal judge. After consultation, freshman defender Ben Danford netted his first career goal for a 2-0 lead for the Golden Griffins.
10:21 Niagara is starting to control the flow of play and enjoyed an extended period in the Canisius zone. The Purple Eagles hit a goal post and earned their second power play of the game.
9:46 Niagara makes it 2-1, getting on the board with a PP goal on a rebound in front of Dan Morrison. As it stands now, Giancarlo Iuorio gets credit for the goal.
3:47 Converting a 3-on-1, Niagara's Paul Zanette put home another rebound to tie the game, 2-2.
End of the first: Tied, 2-2. Niagara went 1-for-4 on power play opportunities which in part helped them have a 20-4 advantage in shots. Morrison has kept the Griffs in the game with some key saves as the fast start for the Canisius offense subsided with penalty trouble. Niagara starts the second with 50 seconds left on the PP.
10:54 A short-handed goal by Canisius gives the Griffs a 3-2 lead. Niagara had a turnover in its own zone and Eric Rex recovered the puck, fed it to Scott Moser for the go-ahead goal.
6:45 A streaking Scott Arnold cleanly beat Morrison as Niagara ties the game, 3-3.
End of the second: Tied, 3-3. Shots were more even this period, with Niagara holding just a 7-6 edge. Canisius had two power play opportunities, but generated just one shot and few solid scoring chances.
14:00: With one second left on the power play Bryan Haczyk scored to give Niagara it's first lead of the game at 4-3.
8:34: Ryan Rashid nets a goal to give Niagara a 5-3 lead. There's lots of game left, especially the way Canisius can play in the third period, but the Purple Eagles seem to have seized the momentum and silenced the thundersticks in the crowd.
Final minute: Torrey Lindsay scored with 44 seconds left and Scott Jenks with 17 seconds left to tie the game, 5-5.
These games are never dull. Headed to overtime.
Final: With 36 seconds left in overtime, Paul Zanette scored a shorthanded goal to give Niagara a 6-5 win.
--- Amy Moritz
taggedBig 4 | Canisius | college hockey | Niagara