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NCAA Hockey: Canisius hangs tough until reality sets in

The Canisius men's hockey team trailed top-ranked Minnesota by a single goal after 2 periods before a major penalty turned things in the Gophers' favor.

FARGO, N.D. — Canisius goaltender Jake Barczewski made it clear when the Canisius men's hockey team arrived in Fargo. 

"We're not here to compete ... We're here to win," he said.

That's bold when you're facing the top ranked team in the NCAA Tournament. 

For two periods, it looked as if it were possible. 

Then reality set in. 

The Griffs trailed the Minnesota Golden Gophers 3-2 after two periods. Stefano Bottini took a major penalty for a hit to the head early in the third period. Minnesota scored twice on the power play, and pulled away for a 9-2 victory in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. 

The Griffs got a game tying goal from Daniel Digrande in the first period, and took a 2-1 lead on a goal from Nick Bowman in the second period before Minnesota scored twice to take a 3-2 lead after two. 

Bottini's penalty came at 19:33 of the 3rd period.  

It was the momentum changer in the game . 

The Gophers scored six unanswered goals, including two on the subsequent power play, in the third period to pull away for the win. 

Barczewski kept the Griffs in the game through two periods, and finished with 25 saves on the night. 

Canisius won the Atlantic Hockey Championship with a 3-0 victory over Holy Cross this past weekend in Buffalo, and made its first NCAA Tournament appearance in a decade. 

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