by Amy Moritz
It might be too early in the season to talk about "must-win" games. And in the grand scheme of cliches, every game is a must-win in some way, shape or form. But when Canisius came back to earn a 4-3 win over Mercyhurst on Saturday night, it was a bit of a sigh of relief for the Ice Griffs.
The Golden Griffins had lost their first three Atlantic Hockey matchups, including an unimpressive showing in a 6-2 loss to Robert Morris in Pittsburgh on Friday night.
Something needed to change.
"We had a little meeting after the game and everybody came together as a whole. ... Obviously every game feels like a must-win but coming off a loss last night to Robert Morris, we felt like we really needed to prove something in our league to ourselves," said Patrick Sullivan, who scored twice in the win over Mercyhurst. "I think we came out hard and really did that."
With the win, the Griffs moved to 1-3-0 in Atlantic Hockey and 2-5-0 overall.
"Fans and other people can look and say, 'It's two points in November.' Our next conference game is the 19th of November," Smith said. "To be 0-4 at that time would have been tough to swallow. I really like our team, but the 0-4 start would have been a fairly negative feeling. It was a pretty gutsy effort tonight."
Up next for the Griffs is a trip to Ohio State for two games Friday and Saturday.
The Buckeyes are coming off a sweep of Niagara and Purple Eagles' coach Dave Burkholder had some strong words for his team after Saturday's 6-1 loss.
“This was probably one of the worst efforts collectively from a Niagara hockey team in as long as I can remember,” Burkholder said. “It lacked passion and commitment to details. Obviously when you’re playing that way nothing good is going to come out of it.”
It was the fourth straight loss for the Purple Eagles who fell to 1-6-1 overall. They return home and to Atlantic Hockey play when they host Army Friday and Saturday in Dwyer Arena.