Facing a stronger opponent in nationally-ranked Akron, UB got an early gift but couldn't hold on for what would have been a massive home result in their MAC opener, falling 2-1 after the Zips converted a corner kick late in the first half and a penalty late in the second.
There were in fact three penalties in the game, and the first two went Buffalo's way as Russell Cicerone put the Bulls ahead just three minutes after the opening touch, and goaltender Joseph Kuta made a brilliant save on Sam Gainford when Akron earned a penalty in the 35th minute. The third, unfortunately, went against the Bulls as a tie became more and more possible, when Victor Souto converted with just over five minutes to play.
Akron had earlier tied the game with a minute left in the first half off a corner kick, but had control of the game but for goals throughout. It took 30 minutes for UB to register a second shot after Cicerone's goal, and the Bulls only found two more before the game winner. Daniel Cramarossa sent a free kick just wide moments after Akron took the lead and had another shot blocked before the final whistle.
On the night Buffalo did well to hold Akron to just nine shots on goal of their 26 total. The Zips also earned a whopping 15 corner kicks as UB bunkered down looking for a result. Each team earned a pair of yellow cards.
Cicerone's goal was his ninth of the season and extended his scoring streak to five games. Pat Flynn did not register a point in Bowling Green's match against Ohio State, so Russell now leads the MAC with 24 points on the season.
UB is next in action a week from today with another home match as they host West Virginia. In 2014 a pair of season-ending losses to the Zips and Mountaineers dashed Buffalo's chances at a MAC Tournament berth, and though a narrow loss and strong defensive showing against a top-ranked team feels positive tonight, the Bulls will need to avoid an 0-2-0 start to their conference play in 2015.