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Niagara men’s hockey returns home to face Holy Cross

NIAGARA UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS

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Game 9
Friday, Nov. 9 – 7 PM
Dwyer Arena – Niagara Univ., NY
TV: LCTV
Radio: 1340 AM / 105.3 FM WLVL
Tickets | Live Video | Live Audio | Live Stats | Game Notes 
 
Game 10
Saturday, Oct. 10 – 7 PM
Dwyer Arena – Niagara Univ., NY
TV: LCTV
Radio: 1340 AM / 105.3 FM WLVL
Tickets | Live Video | Live Audio | Live Stats 

After playing the last six games on the road, the Niagara men's hockey team is back at Dwyer Arena this weekend to host the Holy Cross Crusaders. Three of the team's next four games will be on home ice.

Series Preview

  • This marks the first of two series the teams will play this season. Following this weekend's set on Friday and Saturday, the teams will have a rematch in Worcester, Mass. On January 11-12, 2019.
  • Last year, the Crusaders and Purple Eagles split their lone series in Massachusetts. Holy Cross won, 3-1, in the opener. The following night, Niagara roared back with a 6-0 thumping, led by a Stanislav Dzakhov's hat trick and Brian Wilson's first career shutout.
  • The shutout victory was Niagara's first regular season win against Holy Cross since January 19, 2013 (0-12-1). Including postseason games, Niagara's overall record in that span is 2-13-1, with the Purple Eagles winning the best-of-three series over Holy Cross in the first round of the 2015 Atlantic Hockey playoffs.
  • The Crusaders haven't lost at Dwyer Arena since October 14, 2006, amassing a record of 5-0-1 on Niagara's home ice since then.
  • Since the teams first met in 1999, Holy Cross has compiled an overall record of 16-10-1 against the Purple Eagles.
 
Niagara Notes (3-5-0, 3-3-0 AHA)

  • In its last series, Niagara traveled to Pittsburgh to take on the Robert Morris Colonials. The Colonials took the opening game, 3-1, but the Purple Eagles came back to level the series with a 4-2 win the following night.
  • Sophomore Brian Wilson has been solid between the pipes for Niagara early on. Wilson is tied for ninth in the nation with a .940 save percentage, which also ranks fourth among goaltenders with at least six appearances. Wilson's 1.85 save percentage is the 15th-best total in the country, and eighth among goaltenders with at least six appearances. Both of those totals lead Atlantic Hockey.
  • Special teams has been a tale of two extremes thus far. The team's .917 (33-36) penalty kill success rate is fourth best in the nation. Two of the three power play goals given up by Niagara came against 10th-ranked Penn State.
  • On the flipside, the power play has gone stagnant after opening weekend. After tagging AIC for two power play goals in seven opportunities, the Purple Eagles have not scored with the man advantage since that series, going 0-22 in their last six games. The team's 2-29 (.069) success rate ranks second-to-last in the country, only ahead of Alabama-Huntsville.

Scouting The Crusaders (1-5-0, 1-2-0 AHA)

  • After winning the season opener at Canisius, Holy Cross has dropped five straight games. Their most recent outing was a 3-0 loss to No. 3 Providence on November 3.
  • Among the 11 Atlantic Hockey teams, Holy Cross ranks ninth in save percentage (.869), 10th in saves (153) and 11th in goals-against average (4.34). Erik Gordon (0-4-0) has played more than 213 minutes in the crease for the Crusaders, earning a 5.34 goals-against average and allowing nearly 20 percent (19-97, .804 SV%) of all shots faced through for goals. Gordon has been Holy Cross' go-to goalie since the second game of the season, when Tommy Nixon (1-0-0) went down with an injury.
  • Freshman Matt Barry – son of former Niagara University soccer player John Barry ('81) –  was named the league's Rookie of the Month for October. Barry put up seven points (3 G, 4 A) in the team's first five games, just edging out Niagara's Dylan Mills (2 G, 4 A) for points by a freshman during the first month of the season. He currently ranks fifth in the AHA in points per game (1.17).