BUFFALO,N .Y. (WIVB) — Canisius showed well for the better part of two periods before the No. 1 team in college hockey asserted itself. The Cinderella story struck midnight for the Golden Griffins in their second NCAA men’s hockey regional appearance with a 9-2 loss against Minnesota on Thursday night in Fargo, North Dakota.
Canisius, with the oldest lineup in the 16-team tournament, got off to a strong start. Goals from Digrande and Nick Bowman, along with strong play from goaltender Jacob Barczewski, gave the Griffs a 2-1 lead early in the second period.
Minnesota, appearing in its 40th NCAA tournament with 14 NHL draft picks on the roster, pulled ahead late in the second period and took advantage of a five-minute major penalty against Canisius for two of its six goals in the third.
Bowman, who assisted on Digrande’s tying one-timer at 8:41 into the first period, stick-handled around a defender in the right circle for a highlight goal that put Canisius ahead 3:23 into the second.
In its 2013 NCAA tournament game, Canisius took a 3-1 lead into the third period before losing 4-3 against eventual national runner-up Quinnipiac.
This time, Sabres prospect Aaron Huglen, a fourth-round draft pick in 2019, scored for Minnesota to make it 2-2 midway through the second. And after Connor Kurth got the Gophers go-ahead goal with 1:56 left in the third, the game changed when Canisius’ Steffano Bottino took a game misconduct penalty for making contact to the head 27 seconds into the third. The Gophers scored twice on the ensuing power play.
Bryce Brodzinski, a seventh-round draft pick by the Flyers in 2019, scored a hat trick in the third period for Minnesota, and had an assist on the opening goal by Luke Mittelstadt, one of two brothers of Sabres forward Casey Mittelstadt on the Gophers’ roster.
Barczewski made 25 saves for Canisius.
Canisius reached the NCAA tournament by winning its second Atlantic Hockey Association championship, having gone 15-7-1 since Jan. 1. The Griffs are now 1-16-1 all-time against teams from the Big 10, and 13-46-5 against ranked opponents.
While the Griffs couldn’t pull off the upset, Cornell knocked defending national champion and regional top seed Denver out of the tournament with a 2-0 victory in Manchester, New Hampshire. Cheektowaga native Michael Suda is a sophomore defenseman for the Big Red, who will play Boston College on Saturday for a spot in the Frozen Four.
Jonah Bronstein joined the News 4 roster in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. Read more of his work here.