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Purple Eagles ready to take on defending Atlantic hockey champions

NIAGARA UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS

mucciGame 5
Thursday, Oct. 25 – 7 PM (MT)
Cadet Ice Arena – USAF Academy, CO
Radio: 1340 AM / 105.3 FM WLVL
Live Video | Live Audio | Live Stats
 
Game 6
Friday, Oct. 26 – 7 PM (MT)
Cadet Ice Arena – USAF Academy, CO
Radio: 1340 AM / 105.3 FM WLVL
Live Video | Live Audio | Live Stats

Series Preview
  • The Niagara men's hockey team continues its early season road trip with a western swing into Colorado. The Purple Eagles will face the two-time defending AHA champion Air Force Falcons on Thursday and Friday evenings.
  • Last season, the Purple Eagles and Falcons each made treks to the other school's rink for two-game sets. Niagara swept the first series at the Air Force Academy, 6-3 and 5-2, vaulting them into the national rankings for the first time since 2013. On the return trip, the Falcons took both games at Dwyer Arena.
  • The last time one of these teams did not sweep a series was February 20-21, 2015. Niagara earned a 6-1 win in the first game before drawing even, 4-4, in the finale.
  • Save for a four year period between 2006-07 and 2009-10 when Air Force was a member of Atlantic Hockey while Niagara remained in College Hockey America, these two squads have played each other every season since varsity hockey came to Monteagle Ridge in 1996-97. Niagara has taken the ice with Air Force more times than any other opponent, with Thursday's contest set to be the 69th all-time meeting between the two. The Purple Eagles boast a 35-28-5 head-to-head record over the Falcons.
 
Niagara Notes (1-3-0, 1-1-0 AHA)
  • The Purple Eagles are coming off a sweep at the hands of 10th-ranked Penn State last weekend. Joe O'Brien got the start in the series' first game, an 8-2 loss despite Niagara opening the scoring just a minute in. Rookie Cole Weaver got his first career start in the second game of the weekend, a 4-1 setback.
  • Rookies have been the one of the biggest stories of the season so far for Niagara. Dylan Mills leads the team with five points (1 G, 4 A) through the first four games of the year. Ludwig Stenlund's two goals are a team high. Both freshmen have accounted for each of the team's power play goals thus far as well. In his lone start this season, Weaver posted a .940 save percentage, allowing just one goal on 47 shots faced.
  • Among the team's veteran leaders, Eric Cooley is tied with Mills for the most assists with four. Justin Kendall's 11 shots are also a team best.
  • Niagara's 37 shots against Penn State on October 20 were the most by ant AHA team so far this season.

Scouting The Falcons (1-3-0, 1-1-0 AHA)
  • After dropping contests to in-state rivals Denver and Colorado College, the Falcons traveled to Buffalo, New York and earned a split with Canisius. The preseason favorites easily won, 7-3, on October 19 before falling the next night, 2-0, to the Golden Griffins.
  • Evan Feno and Matt Koch enter the weekend as the Falcons' top threats on offense. Feno leads the squad with three goals and has added two assists, while Koch has posted five assists in the team's four games.
  • Senior Billy Christopoulos has started each game in net for Air Force, with Zach LaRocque only making one, 12-minute relief appearance. In 225 minutes of action, Christopoulos has surrendered 14 goals while making 81 saves (.853 save percentage). He's earned each of the team's decisions as well.
  • On the same night Niagara set their early season-high for shots, Air Force did likewise in their losing effort to Canisius (34).