HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Alabama-Huntsville built a three-goal lead after two periods, then held off Niagara 5-4 in a battle featuring the CHA’s 2003-04 co-Players of the Year.
Ross and his Niagara counterpart, Barret Ehgoetz, each notched a goal Friday as both moved closer to the top of the CHA’s all-time scoring chart.
Niagara (5-9-0, 0-3-0) lost its third consecutive game. The first-place Chargers remain undefeated in the league standings.
Trailing 4-1 heading into the third period, the Purple Eagles scored two quick goals to pull within one just over three minutes into the final period.
Ehgoetz opened the third-period scoring, beating UAH goaltender Scott Munroe high over the shoulder from between the circles at 2:42. Ehgoetz controlled a Mike Maier pass from the right circle and placed the puck into the top of the net, cutting the Chargers’ lead to 4-2.
Just 27 seconds later, senior Ryan Gale scored his team-leading and career-best 10th goal of the season. With an extra attacker on the ice during a delayed penalty, Gale slid the puck under the left pad of Munroe from the left side of the crease, pulling Niagara within one.
After Chargers sophomore Steve Canter scored his second goal of the contest, netting a shorthanded goal at 7:09 of the third period, Huntsville held a 5-3 lead until Niagara junior defenseman Brian Hartman scored his third goal in as many games.
With Niagara goaltender Scott Mollison pulled for an extra attacker, Hartman, in the midst of a scramble in front of the Chargers’ net, maneuvered a backhanded shot just under the arm of Munroe as regulation time expired, ending the contest.
The Chargers took a 1-0 lead at 4:24 of the opening period. On the power play, junior defenseman Jeremy Schreiber’s wrist shot from the left point deflected off the crossbar and into the net, beating Mollison for his first goal of the season.
The Purple Eagles tied the game late in the first period when junior Marc Norrington scored his third goal of the season. At the 14:03 mark of the opening period, Norrington low shot beat Munroe to the glove side, tying the game at 1-1.
Junior forward Bruce Mulherin contributed with a goal and an assist in the middle period, helping Huntsville take a three-goal lead into the third period.
With the game tied after the first, Mulherin assisted on Ross’ go-ahead goal at 9:40 of the second period. Racing down the left boards, Ross’ 10th goal of the season was mired in controversy. Beating Mollison low to the glove side from the left circle, Ross’ shot originally looked to have deflected off the left post and back into play.
After the referees conferred with the goal judge, Ross’ shot was ruled to have crossed the goal line, giving Huntsville a 2-1 lead.
After Canter’s first goal of the contest, Mulherin scored his 12th goal of the season with 29 seconds remaining in the second, giving the Chargers a three-goal lead.
Shots were in favor of the Purple Eagles, 35-30.
Munroe remained undefeated (5-0-0) in conference action, making 31 saves for his sixth win of the season. Mollison, making his fourth start of his collegiate career, made 25 saves in the loss.
The two teams conclude the series Sunday at the Von Braun Center. Game time is set for 8:05 p.m.