The Zarbos of Grand Island had a Western New York homecoming to remember this weekend at Dwyer Arena in Lewiston.
Joe and Matt, forwards for Clarkson, had a hand in the Golden Knights earning a two-game sweep of the season-opening weekend series as Clarkson beat No. 20 Niagara, 2-0, on Sunday.
A matinee crowd of 998 saw Joe Zarbo break a scoreless tie at 8:03 of the second period on the power play. It was the junior’s first goal of the season after leading the Golden Knights in goals (13) last season. Later in the period older brother Matt won a draw in the NU zone back to Paul Geiger at the point, who faked a shot and moved around a defender before firing the puck into the top corner to make it 2-0.
This is the first time Niagara has lost back-to-back home games since losing to Mercyhurst and Air Force on Feb. 2 and 10, 2012.
Saturday’s 2-1 loss snapped the Purple Eagles’ record 22-game home unbeaten streak, which was buoyed by last season’s 15-0-2 mark on home ice.
While Niagara (0-2) didn’t score Sunday, it did fire more pucks in the direction of the Clarkson goal – finishing with a 30-29 edge in shots a day after being outshot, 41-20. The Purple Eagles just failed to beat freshman Steve Perry, who recorded a shutout in his debut.
“Considering the quick turnaround between the games I thought we played with a lot of jam and we were physical,” Purple Eagles coach Dave Burkholder said. “There was no quit which is all you can ask of them. Our guys are judged on their work ethic and their commitment to detail. If they work hard our coaching staff can accept that.”
Adrian Ignagni finished with 27 stops in his Niagara debut.
The Purple Eagles look to avoid their first 0-3 start since 2004 when they host defending Atlantic Hockey Association playoff champion and local rival Canisius at 7 p.m. Saturday at Dwyer Arena.
Canisius tuned up for that clash by downing Brock University (Ont.), 7-1, in an exhibition game at the Buffalo State Ice Arena on Sunday. Ralph Cuddemi scored four goals, while Shane Conacher — the younger brother of ex-Griffs star and current Ottawa Senator Cory — added two assists.