Niagara at Air Force
Friday, Saturday 9:05 p.m.
Sunday (if necessary) 9:05 p.m.
Niagara (13-18-5): The Purple Eagles swept American International in the first round series last weekend and travel to Colorado to face third-seeded Air Force. Leading Niagara has been freshman goaltender Jackson Teichroeb, who was named the conference’s rookie of the week. He has played in 25 games but started the last seven and the confidence from the coaching staff has improved the quality of his game. It looks as if leading goal scorer Isaac Kohls won’t make the trip. Kohls (12 goals) was injured in the regular-season finale against Air Force and missed both games last weekend with an undisclosed injury.
Air Force (20-12-4): The Falcons had an opening-round bye, like last year, and host a WNY team in the quarters, again like last year. Only Air Force won’t want to repeat last year’s sweep on home ice to Canisius. Expect a focused and motivated Falcons’ team paced by junior forward Cole Gunner, who is tied for 12th nationally in scoring with 42 points (14 goals, 28 assists).
Canisius at Bentley
Friday, Saturday 7:05 p.m.
Sunday (if necessary) 7:05 p.m.
Canisius (14-19-3): The Golden Griffins swept Sacred Heart with shutouts in the first-round series. Senior goaltender Tony Capobianco is back to the form that led the Griffs to the Atlantic Hockey tournament championship last year. Watch the play of senior forward Kyle Gibbons, who was left off any all-conference team. The snub could fire him up and that top line with Cody Freeman and Patrick Sullivan is already dangerous.
Bentley (18-12-4): The Falcons are the second seed and have one of the best offenses in the country. Senior Brett Gensler is tied for fourth in the nation in scoring with 45 points (18 goals, 27 assists) and Bentley’s power play ranks second in the nation (26.72 percent). Williamsville native Branden Komm backstops the Falcons with a 2.38 goals-against average and .926 save percentage.