Niagara strengthened its hold on first place and Canisius moved into a tie for second in the Atlantic Hockey Association standings with victories Saturday.
Chris Lochner and Dan Kolenda scored second-period goals and Ryan Rashad added a empty-net power-play goal with 1 second left in Niagara’s 3-1 victory over American International at the Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield, Mass.
The 17th ranked Purple Eagles (13-3-4, 12-0-1 Atlantic Hockey) have 25 points in the standings, nine better than the next closest teams (Canisius, Army and Holy Cross). Carsen Chudak turned back 25 AIC shots in the victory. Niagara put 48 shots on Yellowjackets goalie Ben Meisner.
It was the third straight victory for Niagara since a 12-game undefeated streak ended with a 3-0 loss at Bowling Green on Dec. 29.
Meanwhile at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn., Kyle Gibbons and Preston Shupe scored twice and Canisius cashed in on three of seven power-play opportunities in a 6-3 victory over winless Sacred Heart. The Golden Griffins (8-9-5, 7-4-2 Atlantic Hockey) scored four in a row to take command including power-play tallies by Chris Rumble and Shupe, whose goal at 2:26 of the third made it 4-1. A power-play goal by Gibbons and an short-handed tally into an empty net by Shupe closed out the Canisius scoring.
Canisius goalie Tony Capobianco stopped 28 of 31 shots while the Griffs put 41 shots on Sacred Heart’s Steven Legatto, including 22 in the third period alone.
Shupe leads Canisius with eight goals and 14 points on the season.
Six minor penalties were called in the third period, and Will Rayner of the Pioneers received a charging major and a game misconduct and teammate Chad Barthelmes picked up a slashing minor and a 10-minute misconduct.
Niagara and Canisius will be on the road next Friday and Saturday for AHA games. NU will play at Holy Cross and Canisius at Bentley.