LEWISTON — A return to Dwyer Arena did not go as planned for the Niagara men’s hockey team on Friday night.
The Purple Eagles could not slow American International’s John Puskar, as the senior forward scored a natural hat trick as part of a four-goal night in AIC’s 6-2 Atlantic Hockey victory before a crowd of 858.
“It’s been almost two months since we’ve played at Dywer so to come back here and be that flat was very disappointing,” Niagara coach Dave Burkholder said.
AIC opened the scoring just 38 seconds into the game with a goal by Jason Popek. Puskar then had his natural hat trick to give the Yellow Jackets a 4-0 lead after the first period.
Niagara got on the scoreboard just 16 seconds into the second period with a goal by sophomore center Hugo Turcotte. The home fans responded by littering the ice with stuffed animals as part of Niagara’s “Teddy Bear Toss,” which benefited Carly’s Club. Puskar, however, spoiled the fun by adding his fourth goal of the night for AIC.
The Purple Eagles (4-12-3, 4-5-3) complete their two-game homestand against AIC at 7:05 p.m. today at Dwyer Arena.
Elsewhere in Atlantic Hockey, Canisius opens a two-game series with Sacred Heart at 3:05 p.m. at the Buffalo State Ice Arena. The Golden Griffins (7-10-1, 6-4-1), who haven’t played at home in 42 days, are the only team in the country without a loss on their home ice.