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Junior Tony Capobianco

Griffs Blank Bentley in Game One of First Round

Courtesy: Canisius College Athletics
Release: 03/08/2013
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Junior goalkeeper Tony Capobianco stopped all 35 shots he faced to lead the Canisius College hockey team to a 4-0 win against Bentley in the opening game of a best 2-of-3 Atlantic Hockey First Round series. The Griffs are now 14-18-5 on the season, while the Falcons drop to 12-19-3.

Capobianco established two single-season schools records in the winning effort. The junior now has four shutouts this year, topping the previous record of three that he shared with five other netminders. Capobianco also raised his single-season save total to 1,020 stops during the 2012-13 campaign, surpassing the previous record of 993.

Senior Preston Shupe led the Griffs with two goals on the night, while senior Ben Parker and sophomore Cody Freeman also scored in the victory.

"It was a hard win that took a lot of energy and effort from us, especially on the penalty kill," said Canisius head coach Dave Smith. "It was the little things like sticks in the lanes, finishing checks, strong and timely goaltending and a lot of heart that got us that win tonight."

After a scoreless first period, it was Freeman who finally got the Griffs on the scoreboard with his eighth goal of the season five minutes into the second. Off a rush, the sophomore got a step on the Bentley defense and jammed the puck into the net for the 1-0 lead. Juniors Kyle Gibbons and Patrick Sullivan each recorded assists on what proved to be the game-winning tally.

It was then the Canisius defense's turn to step up big. The Griffs were whistled for consecutive penalties late in the second stanza and Bentley had 1:22 of 5-on-3 play. However, the Griffs allowed the Falcons only one shot on goal during the 82-second span, which Capobianco stopped to preserve the Canisius lead.

Parker doubled the Griffs advantage to two early in the third period. Off another rush, Gibbons sent a pass across the ice, which Sullivan deflected to Parker at the boards. The senior defender then fired the puck in for his second goal of the season 2:26 into the period.

Shupe then gave Canisius a three-goal advantage, scoring on a power play with just 4:51 remaining in the contest. Bentley won a faceoff in its own zone but freshman Ralph Cuddemi intercepted the clearing attempt in the high slot. The rookie then sent a shot on net and Shupe was there to clean up the rebound and send it in for the 3-0 lead.

The senior captain then added a second tally shortly later, scoring on an empty net with Bentley on a power play. Shupe's 15th goal of the season sealed the Canisius victory with assists going to sophomores Mitch McCrank and Logan Roe.

Canisius finished the game with a slight advantage in shots, 36-35. The Griffs were 1-for-3 on the power play, while killing all six Bentley power plays.

Branden Komm recorded 32 saves in the loss for the Falcons.

The schools return to action tomorrow night where Canisius will look to complete its series sweep and advance to the Atlantic Hockey Quarterfinals. Game time at the Buffalo State Sports Arena is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Game Notes: Dan Morrison held the previous record for saves in a season with 993 (2010-11) ... The start was the first for Capobianco in the postseason ... Parker scored in back-to-back games after going scoreless in his previous 89 contests ... Freeman now has 12 points (7g, 5a) in his last 13 games after recording just seven points in his first 38 career games ... Canisius won a home playoff game for the first time since joining Atlantic Hockey (were 0-2 previously) and for the first time since defeating Connecticut, 4-1, in 2001 (MAAC Quarterfinals) ... The shutout was the third in Canisius' postseason history - earning a 1-0 overtime win against Quinnipiac in the 2004 Atlantic Hockey Quarterfinals and a 2-0 win over RIT in the 1987 ECAC West Tournament.

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