HAMDEN, CT — The unranked Niagara Purple Eagles took a 5-1 non-conference decision over the No. 12 Quinnipiac University Bobcats Friday evening at the TD Banknorth Sports Center.
Niagara swept the Bobcats last year at Dwyer arena and is now 8-1 all time versus Quinnipiac, dating back to the 1999-2000 season. The win for Niagara also ended the Bobcats 10 game unbeaten streak.
“Id like to congratulate Niagara,” said Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold. “They played a great hockey game tonight. They played hard and were physical. [Juliano] Pagliero was excellent in net and no question the better team won tonight.”
Bud Fisher was tested early in the opening period on consecutive breakaways by the Purple Eagles’ Matt Caruana and Chris Moran, making the saves to keep the game scoreless.
Niagara netted the first goal of the contest on a delayed penalty to the Bobcats. Zach Hansen tripped a Niagara player and the puck scooted out into the neutral zone. Ryan Olidis picked up the loose puck and passed over to Bryan Haczyk. Dan Sullivan trailed the play and poked home the rebound, from Haczyk’s initial shot, past Fisher at 8:57 of the first.
The Bobcats tied it up at one at 15:05 of the first on Bryan Leitch’s power play goal. Jamie Bates picked off a failed clear on the Purple Eagles fed Ben Nelson at the bottom of the right circle and fired a pass over to Leitch for the one-timer goal.
“Our game plan is good and we just need to execute it [tomorrow] and that’s what we didn’t do tonight,” said Pecknold.
Niagara took the lead back when the Bobcats attempted to clear the puck, but hit Olidids’ skate. He corralled the puck and fired it through the five-hole of an un-set Fisher with just over a minute and a half remaining in the opening stanza.
The Purple Eagles took a two goal advantage where Caruana blasted a shot under the crossbar at 11:25 of the second. Kyle Rogers sent a pass over to Caruana in between the circles for the goal. Vince Rocco also assisted on the goal.
Ryan Annesley helped add to the lead with his third goal of the season. Les Reaney picked up a pass from Haczyk gave a pass to himself off the side boards and went in alone on Fisher. Fisher made the first save, but Annesley nudged the puck over the red line for the three goal advantage.
Niagara added a power play goal with 1:55 remaining with the goal by Reaney and assisted by Chris Moran.
Five different players scored goals for the Purple Eagles and nine registered at least one point.
The two teams square off again tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m.