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NU hockey rallies from 3-goal deficit for 4-3 win over RIT


NIAGARA UNIV. -- In the first home game of the 2018 calendar year, the Niagara Purple Eagles hockey team got off to a slow start, but gave the home crowd a thrilling comeback in a 4-3 victory over the RIT Tigers. Derian Plouffe got Niagara's first goal of the night with 1:10 left in the second period, and Ben Sokay scored 47 seconds later to make it a one-goal game after 40 minutes. Chris Harpur scored his first collegiate goal on the power play 3:18 into the third to tie the game, and after Niagara killed off two RIT 5-on-3 power plays, Plouffe scored the game-winner on a Niagara man advantage with 4:58 left in regulation.
Game Summary
  • Final Score: Niagara 4, RIT 3
  • Niagara Goal Scorers: Chris Harpur, Derian Plouffe (2), Ben Sokay
  • Niagara Assists: Derek Brown, Eric Cooley, Noah Delmas, Nick Farmer, Justin Kendall, Niko Kovachis, Tanner Lomsnes
  • In Goal: Brian Wilson (8-8-1) – 3 GA, 21 SV
  • Power Plays: Niagara – 2-for-6 (11 SOG); RIT – 1-for-6 (6 SOG)
  • Records: Niagara – 10-9-1 (9-4-1 AHC); RIT – 8-8-1 (7-4-0 AHC)
  • Location: Dwyer Arena – Niagara University, New York
  • Attendance: 597

Game Recap
  • RIT opened the scoring 6:25 into the game on its first power play of the evening. Myles Powell dug the puck out from the boards to Adam Brubacher at the left point. Gabe Valenzuela snuck out from behind the Niagara net and tipped home Brubacher's long shot for the first goal of the night.
  • After holding Niagara scoreless in the first period, the Tigers doubled their lead 3:53 into the first as Ryan Kruper deked his way through the Niagara defense and beat an outsprawled Brian Wilson.
  • At the 15:25 mark of the second period, Jake Hamacher found an opening behind the Niagara defense, taking a breakaway pass from Mark Logan and beating Wilson to make it 3-0.
  • The Purple Eagles managed just two shots on goal in the first 18 minutes of the second period, but they scored on both of their shots on goal in the final two to make it 3-2 after 40 minutes.
  • Justin Kendall sprang Derian Plouffe on a 2-on-1 rush with Johnny Curran, with Plouffe taking the shot and picking the top corner to make it 3-1 with 1:10 left before the second intermission.
  • Just 47 seconds later, Derek Brown caused a turnover in the Niagara end and set up Noah Delmas on Ben Sokay on another 2-on-1. Sokay took his shot and beat RIT's Christian Short blocker-side to draw Niagara within one.
  • 3:18 into the third period, Niagara picked up its first power-play goal of the night on its fifth man advantage. Nick Farmer controlled a rebound in front of the RIT net, getting the puck back to Niko Kovachis at the point. Kovachis passed over to his defensive partner Chris Harpur, who fired a one-time shot low past Short to tie the game.
  • Niagara had to kill two 5-on-3 advantages by the Tigers, including one that lasted a full two minutes after Eric Cooley and Nic Mucci were both sent off for minor penalties at the 4:32 mark of the third.
  • After a brief 4-on-4 where Plouffe had taken a kneeing penalty, he exited the penalty box and joined the Niagara power play, stuffing home a loose puck set up by Cooley and Tanner Lomsnes with just under five minutes to play, a goal that held up as the eventual game-winner in a 4-3 decision.
Coach's Corner
  • Head coach Jason Lammers: "It's great hockey weather for us, we enjoy it as we continue to make Dwyer a tough place to play. RIT obviously started well and we spotted them three, and they earned those three, but we found a way. I think offensively we made a difference with the puck and made some key plays. Defensively, we got harder as the game went on with our sticks and our jam, and that helped us find a way to win."
Inside the Numbers
  • Derian Plouffe scored twice in one game for the second time this season, his sixth game with multiple points in the 2017-18 campaign. Plouffe now leads the Purple Eagles in goals (13) and points (23) and is tied for the team lead in both power-play goals (five) and shorthanded goals (two).
  • Noah Delmas extended his team-leading assist total to 20, a mark that leads all Atlantic Hockey skaters, all NCAA defensemen, and ranks third overall in the country.
  • Chris Harpur scored his first collegiate goal, giving the freshman blueliner five points (1+4) in 20 games this season.
  • Ben Sokay now has four points (1+3) in his last seven games; he had three straight games with an assist from Dec. 1-8, 2017.
  • Niagara tied its team season-highs in power-play chances with six, matching the total in a 3-2 win over Army on Nov. 11, 2017. It is also the third time Niagara scored two power-play goals in one game, and the second time in five games.
  • The 20 shots on goal for the Purple Eagles tied for their fewest in a game, matching a 4-1 loss to AIC on Nov. 25, 2017.
  • Niagara led RIT 14-8 in the blocked shots category, with Nick Farmer tying for a game-high three blocked shots.
Up Next
  • Niagara and RIT return to Dwyer Arena to wrap up the weekend series at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 6. The game will be televised locally on LCTV, and Jeremy White has the radio play-by-play on WLVL 1340 AM.