Niagara Gazette

Niagara U.

November 8, 2009

HOCKEY: Niagara falls to UMass, still looking for first win

LEWISTON — Niagara men’s hockey coach Dave Burkholder said prior to the season that finding a goaltender to replace Juliano Pagliero was his team’s top priority, and that without a No. 1 netminder the Purple Eagles might be hardpressed to get victories against quality opponents.

After eight games, he’s realizing exactly how prophetic that statement was.

Niagara started strong, got an early lead on No. 19 UMass at Dwyer Arena, then watched a pair of quickies help the visiting Minutemen gain their footing. Burkholder gave junior goalie Adam Avramenko a quick hook, but the hosts never regained the lead and dropped a 4-2 decision to fall to 0-7-1 on the season.

Egor Mironov scored to give Niagara the lead under seven minutes in the opening period, and although the Purple Eagles got outshot by a 10-4 margin in the opening period, they took some momentum into a first intermission that honored the 1999-2000 team that secured the team’s only NCAA Tournament victory.

After the break, though, UMass (6-1-0) came flying out of the gate and scored two goals in a 50-second stretch. Michael Marcou’s marker from Casey Wellman and James Marcou was followed by Will Ortiz’s goal as he blasted one by Avramenko to give the visitors the edge.

That’s when Burkholder turned to sophomore Chris Noonan, who did an admirable job stepping in and handling a steady diet of work.

Burkholder, a former goalie at RIT, had a simple explanation for the change.

“Two very very bad goals,” he said. “That team’s fragile enough. We’re out there working, hitting and playing hard and they let two slappers go that need to be stopped. We couldn’t wait to see if he was going to snap out of it.”

Ryan Olidis evened things at 2-2 later in the period after a booming hit by senior Egor Mironov. After a hit behind the net by Mironov, Chris Moran dumped a pass out front and Olidis beat a diving Dan Meyers to tie it up.

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