HAMDEN, CT — With a 5-3 win, the Niagara Purple Eagles completed a sweep of the No. 12 Quinnipiac University Bobcats Saturday evening at the TD Banknorth Sports Center.
“It’s a huge weekend for us, and hopefully we can sustain it [momentum] in the last ten games and spring boards us to a great finish,” said Niagara head coach Dave Burkholder.
The Purple Eagles picked up from where they left off Friday with a power-play goal 2:19 into the first. On his first shift of the game, Quinnipiac’s Josh Duncan was called for hitting from behind in front of the Bobcats’ bench and Niagara capitalized with the man advantage.
Chris Moran picked up a puck behind Quinnipiac’s net, drawing two defenders to him. He found Les Reaney and Reaney found the back of the twine for the first goal of the game.
The Bobcats woke up after that goal. Quinnipiac rattled off two shorthanded goals on their next penalty kill.
“Niagara played well both nights and I thought their goal was good again tonight,” said Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold. “I think we played a little bit better, but didn’t play a great game.”
Jean Marc Beaudoin tied the score with his fourth shorthanded goal and ninth overall on the season. Brandon Wong sent a breakout pass to Beaudoin. In the offensive zone, Beaudoin beat the Niagara defenseman and banked the shot off of Juliano Pagliero’s pads and in for the 2-1 lead.
Just over a minute later, Dan Lefort gave the Bobcats their first lead in the series when he got a pass in the slot from Eric Lampe behind the net. Lefort beat Juliano Pagliero glove side high and under the crossbar.
“Surviving those two shorthanded goals, I mean the momentum swing there was dramatic,” said Burkholder.” We just stuck with it and got better as the game went on.”
Niagara tied it up when Tyler Gotto beat Quinnipiac’s Bud Fisher through the five hole. Gotto picked up a loose puck that was batted out of the air, skated in and shot from the top of the circle to the right of Fisher.
Niagara took the lead back on a power-play goal by Matt Caruana. Ryan Annesley sent a pass to the back door of Fisher, who couldn’t see the puck and was beat by Caruana, who had an open net to shoot at.
The Bobcats tied it back up when Isak Tranvik recorded his second goal of the season. Lefort was battled off the puck as he skated to the net, Tranvik picked up the puck and wristed it past Pagliero stick side with just over nine minutes to play in the second.
Niagara took their third lead of the game when the Bobcats’ Andrew Meyer misplayed the puck behind the net; Kyle Rogers took control of it and beat Fisher for the 4-3 lead.
Niagara made it a two goal game when Chris Moran collected his sixth of the season.
Pat McGann relieved Fisher for the final thirteen minutes.
Quinnipiac returns to conference action when they travel to RPI and Union while Niagara hosts St. Lawrence.