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Canisius hockey topped by Niagara in finale

CANISIUS COLLEGE ATHLETICS

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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Reed Robinson recorded his first collegiate hat trick to lead Niagara to a 9-6 victory over Canisius in Atlantic Hockey Association action Saturday at Dwyer Arena in Lewiston, N.Y.
 
Ludwig Stenlund chipped in two goals while Kris Spriggs, Chris Harpur, Eric Cooley and Noah Delmas also scored for the Purple Eagles (6-5-1, 6-3-1 AHA), who completed a regular-season sweep of their "Battle of the Bridge" rivals for the first time since the 2011-12 season with the victory.
 
Junior Nick Hutchison, sophomores Austin Alger andLogan Gestro and freshmen Lee LapidMitchell Martan and J.D. Pogue all found the back of the net for the Golden Griffins (4-7-0, 3-6-0 AHA).
 
Tied at 1-1 heading into the second period, Niagara took a 2-1 lead at the 4:12 mark of the middle frame as Robinson converted a breakaway opportunity, but Martan tied the game again less than three minutes later when he jammed home a rebound for his second of the campaign.
 
Niagara jumped back in front moments later as Stenlund scored on a deflection with eight minutes gone in the frame before Harpur struck 72 seconds later when his shot from the point found its way through traffic to give the Purple Eagles a 4-2 advantage just before the midway point of the contest.
 
Stenlund and Robinson netted their second goals of the period later in the frame to expand the Niagara cushion to 6-2. Stenlund recorded a power-play tally with 5:03 to play before Robinson put home a rebound with 1:46 remaining in the period.
 
The teams traded goals during a back-and-forth third as Cooley opened the scoring just 1:45 to make it 7-2 in favor of Niagara before Lapid and Pogue struck a little more than four minutes apart to trim the Canisius deficit to 7-4.
 
Delmas made it an 8-4 game with an even-strength goal at the 11:14 mark, but Hutchison and Gestro countered with goals less than two minutes apart to pull the Griffs within two, 8-6, with just over two minutes remaining.
 
Robinson ending the Griffs comeback attempt, completing his hat trick with an empty-net tally just 40 seconds after Gestro's marker to close out the scoring.
 
Head Coach Trevor Large's Postgame Comments
"We played in all areas desperate tonight. What I mean by desperate is taking extreme risks to score one goal when we're down a few. It was very disappointing to have our team play that way. It's something we need to learn from. Obviously I liked the battle that we showed during the third period. There's fight in our team. We were very together in moments tonight where most teams can break. I was happy with that. But everything else was very disappointing tonight.
 
"What we value on our team is effort and being hard to play against. We're not getting that from our some of our top players. We need to remedy that. One guy who showed what we value tonight was J.D. Pogue. J.D. got his first career goal and he was rewarded because he was hard, competitive and his work ethic was at its highest from start to finish. I'm very happy for him. He was rewarded for his effort. We need more of that throughout our lineup right now."
 
Game Notes
• Saturday's contest served as the 52nd meeting between Canisius and Niagara. The Griffs moved to 24-19-4 against the Purple Eagles during the Division I era of the series.
• Niagara out-shot Canisius by a 36-28 margin for the contest, highlighted by an 18-5 margin in the first period.
• Both teams converted on the power play as Canisius was 1-for-6 while Niagara was 1-for-4 with the man advantage.
• Alger's first-period goal was his third in the Griffs' last four contests.
• McLaughlin recorded multiple points in a game for the fifth time this season as he tallied two assists.
• With his two assists, McLaughlin moved into a tie with former teammate Ralph Cuddemi for fifth place on the program's Division I points chart with 123.
• Hutchison matched his career high for points as he finished with a goal and an assist.
• Junior Matt Stief recorded multiple assists in a game for the first time this season and third time in his career.
• With Pogue's third-period tally, all four freshmen who have seen playing time for the Griffs this season have recorded a goal.
 
Up Next
• Canisius returns to action Thanksgiving weekend when it hosts Sacred Heart in a two-game Atlantic Hockey series at KeyBank Rink at Harborcenter.
• Start times for both games of the Nov. 23-24 series are set for 1:05 p.m.
• There will be an open skate for all fans with the team following the Nov. 24 contest from 3:30-4:30 p.m.