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LEWISTON — It was a defensive battle for the better part of 80 minutes. And it wasn’t until 4:43 of the second overtime that someone finally cracked the scoreboard.

Dan Kolenda tipped in a shot from Vince Muto to give Niagara a 1-0 win over American International in front of 362 at Dwyer Arena on Friday night.

The strength of the win came on the back of freshman goaltender Jackson Teichroeb, who made 38 saves, to lead Niagara to the first win in the best-of-three series in the opening round of the Atlantic Hockey playoffs.

“Some of those saves, boy, we’re not in overtime without him,” Niagara coach Dave Burkholder said. “He was the star of the game. And their goaltender, those guys stole the show. We’re going to go with him again” today. “He’s been really good down the stretch and limited mistakes.”

AIC freshman goalie Hunter Leisner finished with 48 saves as the defensive start to the game opened up as the game wore on.

Niagara started to generate quality chances at the end of the second and had opportunities in the third and first overtime as well.

Finally it was a shot from the blue line by Muto that was tipped in by Kolenda.

“As the game went on more guys wore down so you get small defensive chances opening up,” Kolenda said. “People are making small mistakes in their game and more chances started opening up. I felt like we had more opportunities.”

The Purple Eagles were playing without leading goal-scorer Isaac Kohls, who was injured in the second period of the regular-season finale against Air Force last Saturday.

He is day-to-day and could return tonight as the teams meet again in the second game of the best-of-three series at 7 in Dwyer Arena.

Capobianco sets Griffs marks

It was a record-setting performance for Canisius senior Tony Capobianco in the Golden Griffins’ 3-0 win over Sacred Heart at Buffalo State Ice Arena.

The shutout was the seventh of his career – the most in program history – while his 27 saves gave him the career record for saves, now with 2,839.

The Griffs took a 1-0 lead 2:12 into the second period when freshman Shane Conacher snapped in a power-play goal. Ben Danford and Kyle Gibbons had the assists.

The lead extended to 2-0 just 6:22 into the third period when Tyler Wiseman scored from Taylor Law and Mitch McCrank.

Gibbons added an empty netter, the 56th goal of his career, on assists from Mathew Backhouse and Cody Freeman.

The teams meet for Game Two at 7 tonight at Buffalo State Ice Arena.

email: amoritz@buffnews.com