Colonial Sports Network

Colonial Sports Network

Colonial Sports Network

Colonial Sports Network

Colonial Sports Network

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Men’s Hockey Suffers Overtime Defeat on Emotional Senior Day

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Samantha Dutch
The Colonials fell to the Golden Griffins in overtime Saturday afternoon

NEVILLE TOWNSHIP– An emotional day occurred at Clearview Arena Saturday afternoon, with 12 Colonials honored on Senior Day in front of a sellout crowd.

However, Caniusis (11-17-4, 10-10-4 AHA) had other plans, spoiling their special day with a 5-4 win in overtime.

It was the first time in two years that Head Coach Derek Schooley had been a part of Senior Day festivities and saw the team he rebuilt from scratch play in their final home game of the season.

“It was surreal,” Coach Schooley said. “We are very appreciative of the nine guys who came here and took an opportunity and took a chance on coming back to rebuild the program, and the three guys who stayed here. I was emotional, but we’re not done yet.”

Senior goaltender Chad Veltri played four years at Niagara before coming home to his hometown of Pittsburgh for his graduate year. Veltri got the start on Senior Night and had 47 saves.

“It was definitely emotional. The crowd was amazing. It was electric and really fun to play in.” Veltri said. “Seeing 30-plus members of my family here in maybe the last game that they’ll see me play in college hockey, so it’s tough. But I’m very grateful to be able to come and watch me play.”

Unlike Saturday, the Colonials got on the board first, with a shot from the point from senior defenseman Cade Townend, assisted by seniors Paul Maust and Gavin Gulash.

However, the Golden Griffins fired right back as Oliver Tarr got on the board less than two minutes later to tie up.

This would become a theme as both teams would trade tallies throughout the game.

In the third period, the Golden Griffins would take the lead. Then, Cameron Garvey and Dallas Tulik would score goals twice in 52 seconds to take the lead with six minutes in regulation.

“We’re so much better than we were at the beginning of the year,” Coach Schooley said. “In a one-game knockout, anybody can go. Anybody can win. We feel that we’re getting to the right end of our game, and hopefully, we’re ready as we head into the playoffs.”

With emotions and adrenaline running high late in the game, the matchup would become increasingly chippy.

With three minutes in regulation in a tie game, Paul Maust would get called for a ten-minute misconduct penalty in retaliation, sending the Griffins to the power play down one goal late.

“We were right where we needed to be,” Schooley said. “We took the lead and unfortunately couldn’t hold away. We got a little bit immature by taking an undisciplined retaliatory penalty. We can’t do that in that situation.”

That penalty would open the door for Canisius as Jackson Decker would knot things up at four and head to sudden death overtime.

Just 1:15 into the extra frame, the Golden Griffins would break the hearts of the seniors on Griffin Loughran’s goal to seal the sweep.

“It was a good play by him. He was able to sneak it through the legs and forward, and kind of snuck one underneath my shoulder, tipped off my shoulder, and went underneath the bar, but a great play by him,” Veltri said.

The Colonials have two more regular season games against Air Force before the Atlantic Hockey Postseason, and they look to bounce back with confidence before postseason play.

“We’ve been very confident,” Coach Schooley said. “We’ve been confident the whole second half of the year, and we need to make sure that we continue to be confident and go out, give it our best effort, get as many points as we can, and see where we end up playing in the playoffs.”

“I think we’re right there, especially these last couple of games,” Veltri said. “I think we’re just battling penalties right now and just beating ourselves. It’s not that the other teams are playing better, but we just need to focus on ourselves and the outcomes will follow.”

That two-game series will begin on Friday and face the Falcons at 7 p.m. ET with puck drop in Colorado Springs.

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About the Contributor
Michael Deemer, Sports Editor
Michael Deemer is a junior News and Sports Communication major from Crofton, Maryland. He is the Sports Editor for Colonial Sports Network and is the producer for RMU-TV's Colonial Sports Center.