The Canisius College Golden Griffins defeated the visiting University of Connecticut Huskies 6-0 Saturday afternoon at the Buffalo State Sports Arena. The Griffins got goals from six different players and went two-for-nine on the power play while improving their record to 4-3-2 overall.
“We talked about focus and passion and I thought that we brought it right from the first drop of the puck,” Canisius head coach Dave Smith said. “We were very focused and energetic, won a lot of key battles early and I thought we set the tempo in the first period.”
The Griffins never relinquished the tempo and held the Huskies to just 13 shots, including only two in the final period.
“We came out and let them get a jump on us and let them feel pretty good,” Connecticut head coach Bruce Marshall said. “They scored some nice goals and we came down on our breaks and we didn’t get shots off. That was probably the biggest difference.”
Matt Zuke scored the first goal of his collegiate career at 13:21 of the first period. Huskies’ goalie Beau Erickson saved a Dave Kostuch shot, but the rebound fell towards the ice. Zuke batted it out of the air just under the crossbar to give the Griffins the opening goal.
Kostuch then opened the second period with a quick goal for the Griffins at 1:19. He received a pass from Jason Weeks and slipped behind the Connecticut defense for a partial breakaway. He deked, making Erickson slide across the goalmouth, before pulling the puck back to his right and putting it into the open net on the backhand.
During four-on-four play in the second period, Zuke picked up the puck for Canisius on a turnover in their defensive zone and skated up ice. He dished it to Cory Conacher, who then fed Wes Love. His quick, low shot from just inside the blue line beat Erickson to give the Griffins a 3-0 lead.
Defender Carl Hudson was the next to get on the scoreboard for Canisius. His slap shot at 9:01 of the second period hit the back of the net just as the first penalty of a two-man advantage expired.
Brandon Cummings notched another power play goal for Canisius at 12:59 of the third period.
Josh Heidinger closed out the scoring at 17:11. His momentum was taking him past the goal line to the right of the net but he was able to reach back and get his stick on a Kostuch pass and chipped it into the top of the net.
Freshman Dan Morrison earned his first collegiate shutout and ended the game with 13 saves.
“Dan made some key saves at key times,” Smith said. “He showed good confidence and handled the puck very well which makes it easier for our defenders.”
The two teams will battle again tomorrow at 3:05 at the Buffalo State Sports Arena.