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NU hockey pushes nationally-ranked Ohio State to the brink in 3-2 loss


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Following a 20-day layoff for the holiday break, the Niagara Purple Eagles hockey team took the ninth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes to the brink in Friday night's matchup at Value City Arena. After Ohio State scored twice in 31 seconds in the first period, Johnny Curran found the back of the net on a second-period power play before James Roll scored his first goal as a Purple Eagle to tie it with 5:17 to play. The Buckeyes took the win in the final minute, as Tanner Laczynski buried a rebound with six seconds left to send Niagara to a 3-2 loss.
Game Summary
  • Final Score: No. 9/9 Ohio State 3, Niagara 2
  • Niagara Goal Scorers: Johnny Curran, James Roll
  • Niagara Assists: Eric Cooley, Noah Delmas, Nic Mucci
  • In Goal: Brian Wilson (7-7-1) – 3 GA, 29 SV
  • Power Plays: Niagara – 1-for-2 (3 SOG); Ohio State – 0-for-3 (6 SOG)
  • Records: Niagara – 9-8-1; Ohio State – 11-4-4
  • Location: Value City Arena – Columbus, Ohio
  • Attendance: 3,609

Game Recap
  • Both goaltenders, Brian Wilson for Niagara and Sean Romeo for Ohio State, started perfect through the first 15 minutes. Niagara's best chance came from Sam Rennaker on a wraparound chance midway through the period, beating Romeo to the far post but sending his shot across the crease.
  • Ohio State opened the scoring at the 15:57 mark of the first. The Buckeyes caught Niagara out of position on an extended possession and Matt Miller's point shot found its way through traffic and past Wilson.
  • 31 seconds later, Matt Joyaux's point shot was redirected in the high slot by Sam McCormick to double the Buckeyes' lead. Ohio State held a 15-8 shots on goal advantage and a 2-0 lead on the scoreboard after 20 minutes.
  • Wilson held strong in the second period with nine big saves against the Buckeyes, and Niagara was able to get on the board 9:06 into the middle stanza.
  • On the first Niagara power play of the night, Eric Cooley fed Noah Delmas at the top of the slot. Delmas teed up Johnny Curran for a one-time shot on the left wing, and Curran sniped the far corner glove-side to cut the deficit in half.
  • Niagara killed off its second penalty of the night to close out the second period, with Ohio State getting past Wilson to find a chance on the back door, but Keegan Harper broke up the play to keep it at 2-1.
  • Late in the third period, the Purple Eagles got the tying goal courtesy of James Roll. Nic Mucci dug a puck out of a scrum on the right wing boards to Roll, who knifed his way through the Ohio State defense and buried a wrist shot blocker-side to make it 2-2.
  • On the final rush of the game, Ohio State lofted a high pass into the Niagara end and got a chance off the bouncing puck. Wilson made the initial stop against Freddy Girard, but Tanner Laczynski popped the rebound home for the game-winning tally.
Coach's Corner
  • Head coach Jason Lammers: "I was real impressed with our effort. It's a tough one, but the guys played hard and did a lot of nice things, especially coming back from the long break. I was impressed with our energy and the fact that we came back from a 2-0 deficit."
Inside the Numbers
  • With the primary assist on Niagara's first goal, Noah Delmas picked up his 19th assist of the season, a total that leads Atlantic Hockey, leads all NCAA defensemen, and ranks third overall in the country.
  • Delmas also crossed the 20-point plateau, joining Derian Plouffe and giving Niagara a pair of 20-point scorers for the first time since Hugo Turcotte and Isaac Kohls closed the 2014-15 season with 20 points each.
  • Johnny Curran scored his team-leading fifth power-play goal of the season; it was his ninth goal on the man advantage in his Niagara career.
  • James Roll scored his first goal as a Purple Eagle to tie the game late in the third period. Roll spent the previous three seasons at Lake Superior State, where his last goal came on Jan. 21, 2017 against Alabama-Huntsville. He now has seven points (1+6) to rank second in scoring among Niagara blueliners.
  • Brian Wilson made 29 saves in the loss, his third-highest save total of the season.
  • Plouffe had a game-high five shots on goal, but was held without a point for just the third time this season, ending a seven-game point streak.
  • Niagara was narrowly outshot by Ohio State 32-30, while the Buckeyes also held advantages in faceoffs won (27-21) and blocked shots (13-8).
  • Niagara's penalty kill was a perfect 3-for-3 Friday, moving up to fourth in the NCAA at 87.7 percent. The Purple Eagles' penalty kill is now 35-for-38 (92.1 percent) on the road, and 21-for-24 (87.5 percent) in non-conference play.
Up Next
  • Niagara and Ohio State reconvene at Value City Arena to wrap up the weekend series with an 8 p.m. matchup on Saturday, Dec. 30, the final non-conference game of the season for both teams.