It's been two years since Canisius gave up four goals in a game, and nearly four since UB's managed that number against someone not named St. Bonaventure, but the Bulls tonight dominated the visiting Golden Griffins over the final forty minutes to lay their first claim to 2015 regional supremacy.
Russell Cicerone, David Enstrom, and Scott Doney (2) were the goal scorers for UB, who did not allow a goal from the run of play, as both of Canisius' tallies came on Chris Berardi penalty kicks.
The final stretch saw UB roar back from a 2-1 deficit and control the game thanks to - as we've seen so clearly early this season - improved midfield play. The Bulls are both finding space and much more precise in their touches than last year, and took a big leap forward today once Canisius took the lead on what some people in-stadium were saying was a questionable penalty.
Prior to Canisius' lead, the local grudge match felt much as last year's, with a physical, aggressive Canisius team owning a slightly greater share of possession and generating slightly more dangerous chances. Cicerone's rocket of a free kick that opened the scoring was UB's lone shot on goal in the first half, while the visitors forced three saves from Buffalo goalie Cameron Hogg and saw two more dangerous shots blocked.
Once Canisius took the lead, however, Buffalo took over. Moments after Berardi's second penalty put the visitors ahead, UB had two golden chances to even in the box, and needed only five minutes to even the score when Enstrom scored off a Daniel Cramarossa throw-in.
The winning goal came on a combination that's going to feel very familiar by the end of the season; Cicerone found Marcus Hanson free along the wing free to send a cross in to Scott Doney, who demands too much attention for opposing defenses to tightly mark him and Hanson and Cicerone. Ten minutes later, Doney was able to add an insurance goal from Cicerone despite UB shrinking into a defensive posture, and from there there was little doubt.
Doney now leads the Bulls with three goals on the season, while Cicerone has two. Enstrom's was his first. Cameron Hogg, who saw only four starts total as a freshman, has won the first three games of his sophomore year, and made five saves in the win. Hanson (4), Cicerone (3), and Doney (2) have also already combined for nine assists on the year.
Tonight's game was Buffalo's third in five days, and the Bulls won't see too much of a rest, as they travel to Texas this coming weekend for a pair of games against Texas-Rio Grande Valley and Houston Baptist. UB's 3-0-0 record is their best start since 2008, but at stake against UT-RGV is the program's best start since 2005 (8-0-0).