No. 15 Niagara wasted little time jumping on host Mercyhurst on Saturday night in Erie, Pa., en route to a 4-2 triumph in Atlantic Hockey at the Mercyhurst Ice Arena.
Marc Zanette’s goal just 26 seconds into the game gave the regular-season champion Purple Eagles (21-6-5, 20-3-2) an early lead.
Chris Bodo tied it for the Lakers (14-15-2, 12-11-2) midway through the second period, but 2:11 later Niagara took the lead for good on a goal by Ryan Rashid. Hugo Turcotte scored 30 seconds later to make it 3-1 Purple Eagles. Ryan Murphy scored late in the third to make it 4-1 before Bodo scored his second in the final minute.
NU goalie Carsen Chubak made 31 saves to earn his 21st win of the season.
Murphy and Zanette each had a goal and an assist for the Purple Eagles, who close the regular season with two games at Air Force beginning Friday night.
“That’s a great weekend of hockey for us, especially tonight with a very good road effort,” coach Dave Burkholder said. “Just look at the second period when they get on the board to tie it 1-1 and we responded with a great power-play goal from Ryan Rashid and then 30 seconds with the Turcotte, Kohls and Divjak goals that set them back on their heels. It certainly wasn’t the way we wanted the third period to go, but when you’re killing that many penalties they’re going to have some momentum.”
In Pittsburgh, Canisius dropped its fifth in a row, this time a 6-3 decision to Robert Morris (18-12-2, 13-11-1) in another Atlantic Hockey Association contest. Stephen Farrell, Kyle Gibbons and Patrick Sullivan scored in the loss for the Golden Griffins (11-18-5, 10-13-2), who were swept in the two-game home-and-home series. The Griffs close the regular season with a home-and-home with RIT starting Friday in Rochester’s Ritter Arena.