LEWISTON, N.Y. — Findlay’s Rigel Shaw did most of the damage himself with a hat trick, but the Findlay supporting cast pitched in with three additional goals as Findlay defeated Niagara for the first time ever, 6-3, Saturday night.
Niagara got on the scoreboard first as Randy Harris continued his offensive streak and took a Matt Ryan pass and put it past Findlay goaltender Jamie VandeSpyker to give Niagara the 1-0 lead just 1:34 into the first period.
It looked as though the events of Friday night’s Purple Eagle victory would play out again with Niagara taking an early lead, but that was not to be.
Shaw scored two goals just over three minutes apart to give Findlay a 2-1 edge, and from then on, Findlay would never trail, though Niagara tied it up when Hannu Karru took a shot that he neatly lifted over VandeSpyker’s glove hand to make it 2-2. The first period would end with the two teams deadlocked at 2-2, but the game was far from over.
The second period saw another Findlay goal only three minutes and 44 seconds into the period when Brian Sherry took a feed from Brant Somerville on an odd-man rush to give Findlay the lead back at 3-2.
Niagara head coach Dave Burkholder had seen enough and replaced freshman goaltender Mike Pataran with another freshman in Ryan MacNeil. MacNeil, seeing his first game action since he received a serious concussion and numerous stitches in the second game of the season versus Umass-Amherst, fared no better. Both netminders were forced to make spectacular saves as a porous Niagara defense allowed Findlay too many scoring chances.
MacNeil gave up his first goal against of the game at the 6:37 mark of the second period as he too fell victim to Shaw. Shaw’s third goal of the game was a blast from the slot that he neatly placed inside the left pipe.
Findlay then went on a scoring “drought” for eight minutes until receiving its fifth goal of the game from Kris Weibe.
To save face for the Purple Eagles, Paul Muniz stuffed home a loose puck with only six seconds to go in the second period to cut the Niagara deficit to two goals. However, that was as close as Niagara would get.
The only scoring of the third period came on an Aaron Weegar empty-netter and Findlay skated off with the 6-3 victory — the first victory against Niagara in Findlay hockey history, a span of 15 previous losses.
Niagara falls to 12-7-0, 5-3-0 in the CHA and Findlay improves to 6-10-0, 2-4-0 in the CHA.