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Niagara hockey begins four game non-conference stretch in Kalamazoo

NIAGARA UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS

team mhky
Game 15
Friday, Nov. 30 – 7 PM
Lawson Ice Arena – Kalamazoo, MI
Radio: 1340 AM / 105.3 FM WLVL
Live Video | Live Audio | Live Stats | Game Notes 
 
Game 16
Saturday, Dec. 1 – 7 PM
Lawson Ice Arena – Kalamazoo, MI
Radio: 1340 AM / 105.3 FM WLVL
Live Video | Live Audio | Live Stats 
 
This weekend, the Niagara men's hockey team will hit pause on conference play as it heads to Western Michigan to take on the NCHC's Broncos. The series will be the first of two straight in which the Purple Eagles face off against teams from outside Atlantic Hockey.

Series Preview
  • This series is the first meeting between Niagara and Western Michigan since the Purple Eagles opened their season with a 4-2 loss in Kalamazoo on October 10, 2008.
  • On October 26-27, 2007, Niagara swept the Broncos at Dwyer Arena in their most recent two-game set. The Purple Eagles won the opener 4-2 and closed it out with a 3-1 victory.
  • The last time Niagara played a pair at Western Michigan, the Broncos swept the series with 4-3 and 4-1 games on November 5-6, 2004, respectively.
  • The Purple Eagles are 1-5-0 all-time in Kalamazoo. Their sole win was a 3-2 overtime victory on February 19, 2000 to split the teams' first-ever series.
 
Niagara Notes (7-6-1, 7-4-1 AHA)
  • The Purple Eagles are coming off a split with at Army West Point. Niagara won the opener, 3-1, on November 23 but dropped the back end, 5-1, the following night.
  • The loss to the Black Knights ended the Purple Eagles' six-game unbeaten streak, which stretched back to November 3. During the span, the team went 5-0-1 and outscored opponents 30-17. All six games were against Atlantic Hockey opponents, vaulting Niagara to the top of the conference standings.
  • The team's play as of late has them on the cusp of national recognition. In this week's USCHO.com poll, the Purple Eagles earned one vote. It was their first time making an appearance in the poll since January 8, 2018, after they took three points from RIT to get to 9-4-2 in conference play.
  • Saturday's contest at Army was the 100th collegiate game for defenseman Niko Kovachis. In his three-plus seasons in the Purple and White, the alternate captain has collected 29 points (6 G, 23 A) from the blue line and racked up 93 penalty minutes. During the series finale against the Black Knights, Kovachis scored his first career shorthanded goal.

Scouting The Broncos (6-6-0, 3-3-0 NCHC)

  • Western Michigan is back home after a taking last weekend off. In their most recent outing, the team made history by sweeping a road series at No. 11 North Dakota for the first time ever. On November 16, the Broncos blanked the Fighting Hawks, 2-0, then left Grand Forks after a 6-2 triumph the following night.
  • The Broncos have had mixed results in non-conference play so far this season. In the team's season opener against No. 20 Bowling Green, the Falcons took a 6-2 decision on October 9. On October 12-13, Western Michigan swept a home-and-home against Ferris State. In a home-and-home with No. 11 Michigan the weekend after, the Wolverines and Broncos worked their way to a split. On October 23, Western Michigan traveled to 15th-ranked Bowling Green to wrap up their season series, getting swept with a 4-1 loss.
  • Trevor Gorsuch is the 18th-rated goaltender in the country in terms of save percentage (.922). Gorsuch backstopped the team to their 2-0 win at North Dakota for his second shutout of the year.
  • Colt Conrad leads the Broncos' offense with 14 points (5 G, 9 A) in 12 games played. The senior forward is also the team leader with 125 faceoff wins.