LEWISTON, N.Y. — Joe Tallari and Bernie Sigrist each scored two goals to lead Niagara to a 6-2 win over Air Force in a College Hockey America game Saturday night at Dwyer Arena.
The two teams split the CHA series as Niagara improved to 3-7 overall and 1-1 in the CHA. Air Force fell to 4-4 overall and 1-1 CHA.
“Niagara played like a desperate team tonight,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “They sat four of their best players and that sent a message to the rest of the team. We couldn’t match their intensity. Our adrenaline wasn’t flowing and theirs was.”
Niagara was all over Air Force from the beginning, scoring a power-play goal 56 seconds into the first period. Thirteen seconds into the game, Seth Pelletier was called for a hooking penalty and the Purple Eagles capitalized. Tallari scored his first goal of the game on a rebound from Jason Williamson.
Less than five minutes later, the Purple Eagles scored their second power-play goal of the game. After Air Force was called for too many men on the ice, Tallari netted his second of the game. The Purple Eagles won the faceoff and Tallari’s slapshot, from Shayne Baylis and Dave Hominuk, beat Mike Polidor.
Nineteen seconds later, Sigrist scored his first goal of the game on a tip-in. Niagara won the center-ice faceoff and Sigrist redirected a pass from Justin Cross.
Sigrist and Kormanyos scored late in the second period for a 5-0 lead. The Falcons scored twice in the third period and outshot Niagara, 9-6. Pelletier scored on a nice pass from Scott Zwiers at 9:02 on a rush up-ice.
After another Niagara goal, Air Force scored a power-play goal with 55 seconds remaining. Brian Reaney made the pass to Andy Berg at center ice and Berg found Spanky Leonard skating up the right wing. Leonard netted his fourth of the season to make up the final margin.
“We played better in the third period,” Serratore said. “We played hard and we didn’t quit.” Niagara outshot Air Force, 37-23, in the game. The Purple Eagles also won the special teams, connecting on 3-of-7 power-play chances. Air Force was 1-for-5 with a man up.
Polidor played the first two periods for the Falcons and made 26 saves in 40 minutes. Freshman David Goodley played the final period and stopped five of the six shots he faced. Rob Bonk went the distance for the Purple Eagles, making 21 saves.
“Anytime you get a split on the road, that is good,” Serratore said. “But its not always about winning and losing. Its about intensity and effort and tonight we didn’t have it and they did.”