Three Things from this past weekend in Atlantic Hockey:
Two out of three ain’t bad
Niagara won its first game of the season last Tuesday, a 5-4 victory over Mercyhurst on home ice. TJ Sarcona scored the tying and game-winning goals in the third period.
The win was a long time coming for sophomore goalie Guillaume Therien, who came into the game a hard-luck 0-13-3 for his career.
The Purple Eagles liked the thrill of victory so much, they did it again last Saturday. After a tough 4-3 loss to Sacred Heart on Friday, Niagara blanked the Pioneers 4-0 on Saturday thanks to a 37-save performance by senior netminder Jackson Teichroeb.
The 2-1 week is something to build on after starting the season 0-7-2. They return to action this weekend with a two game set at American International.
Consistency is key
Speaking of the AIC Yellow Jackets, they salvaged a point at Canisius on Saturday in a 1-1 ties after a 4-0 loss on Friday. A point is not bad on a weekend when AIC scored just one goal, a shortie by rookie Hugo Reinhardt.
It keeps a stretch alive for the Yellow Jackets of earning at least a point in every conference series so far this season. The streak is only at four series, but it’s impressive considering AIC was only able to do that five times all of last season.
This is in part due to AIC’s four ties in conference play so far — there have been only two other ties in AHC games that didn’t involve the Yellow Jackets.
But points are points, and right now the eight that AIC has earned is nine games is good enough for a tie for fifth in the standings.
One bad period
Rochester Institute of Technology ended a four-game skid with a convincing 6-2 win over first-place Army West Point on Friday, and followed that up with a 2-1 overtime victory on Saturday. In that one, Myles Powell redirected a shot from the point by Adam Brubacher just 21 seconds into the extra frame.
On Friday, the Tigers erased a 2-1 Black Knights lead with five goals in the final period. Army West Point goaltender Parker Gahagen entered the game among the national leaders in goals allowed (1.40) and save percentage (.959). Throw out the third period of Friday’s contest, and Gahagen had a pretty good weekend, allowing three goals on 42 shots in just over five periods of work.
But including the third stanza on Friday, Gahagen’s numbers fell to 1.83 and .934. When your stats are as good as Gahagen’s have been this season, sometimes there’s nowhere to go but down a bit.
In the opposing net, RIT goalie Mike Rotolo had his best weekend of the season to date. The senior stopped 53 of 56 shots and on Saturday set the career save mark in the school’s division I era. His 1,788th stop pushed him past Jordan Ruby ’15.
“Most of all I’m happy with two wins,” Rotolo said after the game. “We were on a rough slide there and needed to stop it here at home.
“That was the best team in our league right now and I thought we played very well both nights.”