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Air Force spoils Canisius hockey’s home opener with 7-3 win


Dylan McLaughlin
Game Recap
Air Force senior Evan Feno recorded a hat trick and freshman Kiernan Durgan scored his first two collegiate goals as the visiting Falcons posted a 7-3 win over Canisius in Atlantic Hockey action Friday night at KeyBank Rink at Harborcenter.
The win moves Air Force to 1-2-0 overall and 1-0-0 in Atlantic Hockey play, while the Golden Griffins fell to 1-2-0 overall and 1-2-0 in league action.
Canisius scored the game's first goal 1:09 into the contest when junior Matt Hoover took a feed from teammate Lee Lapid and beat Air Force goalie Billy Christopoulus stick-side. Sophomore Austin Alger also earned an assist on the Blue and Gold's first goal, his first career point as a Griff.
Feno scored the first of his three goals on the night at the 12:06 mark of the first period on a power play to even the score at 1-1. After Air Force won a faceoff in the Griffs' zone, Feno's wrister from just below the left face-off dot was deflected in front by a Canisius defender and over the shoulder of Canisius goaltender Blake Weyrick.
The Griffs regained the lead just before the end of the first period when senior Dylan McLaughlin took a feed in the slot off a pass from teammate Grant Meyer to make the score 2-1 with 1:11 left before the first intermission. Meyer set the scoring play up for the Blue and Gold by forcing an Air Force turnover deep in its own zone, and then send a crossing pass to McLaughlin's stick. The goal for McLaughlin, his second of the season, stands as the 41st in his career, while the assist is the third of the season for Meyer.
Feno would score the game's next two goals to give Air Force a 3-2 lead just 7:22 into the second period. He tied the game at 2-2 less than four minute into the second period and then put the Falcons ahead for good with his second power-play goal of the night off assists from teammates Matt Serratore and Matt Koch. He is the first Air Force player to record a hat trick in a game since Erik Baskin scored three times for the Falcons against Colorado College Dec. 29, 2017.
Durgan's first career goal at the 4:37 mark of the third period made the score 4-2 in favor of the visiting Falcons, and senior Kyle Haak's first goal of the year on the power play put Air Force up 5-2 with 9:13 left to play in the third period. The Griffs made it a two-goal game with 13:39 left on the clock thanks to a short-handed score by senior defenseman Cameron Heath, but a pair of goals in the game's final 40 seconds, including an empty-net marker by Durgan, sent Air Force off with the 7-3 victory.
McLaughlin had a goal and an assist in the loss for the Griffs, who were outshot by Air Force by a 28-26 count. Weyrick made 19 stops for Canisius in his first career start. Koch and Serratore each had multiple assists in the winning effort for Air Force, while Christpolius made 25 saves for the Falcons en route to his 29th career victory in net.
Head Coach Trevor Large's Postgame Comments
"Our special teams struggled tonight. Our penalty kill didn't get it done, our power play didn't get it done. We needed goaltending to be better. When you're missing those three things in a game, it's tough to win. It was one of those nights for us."
Game Notes
• Friday's meeting with Air Force marked the 44th in series history, with the Falcons leading the series 22-13-9.
• With the loss, Canisius is now 1-3-0 all-time in its home opener at Harborcenter.
• McLaughlin, who started the night tied for second on the NCAA's active points leader list, now has 112 career points after his goal in the first period and his third-period assist.
• Lapid's assist on Canisius' first goal gives him a point in each of the team's last two contests.
• The win improved Air Force to 44-2-5 in its last 51 games where the team scored three or more goals.
• Canisius fell to 34-4-1 since 2016-17 when scoring the game's first goal.
Up Next
• Canisius and Air Force will close out the weekend series on Saturday night at Harborcenter. • Faceoff is set for 7:35 p.m. Saturday is Canisius' annual "Pink the Rink" celebration in conjunction with the American Cancer Society and Canisius' chapter of "Colleges Against Cancer" and proceeds from Saturday's ticket sales will benefit the American Cancer Society. All fans attending the game are encouraged to wear pink to help support the effort.

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