Niagara Gazette — LEWISTON — Dan Kolenda scored the game-winning goal at the 4:43 mark of double overtime as Niagara University took the first game of a best-of-three series against American International College in the Atlantic Hockey Association playoffs Friday night at Dwyer Arena.
Kolenda’s goal, a tipped redirection of a shot by Vince Muto, happened to be the only goal of the game.
“It was a good shot by Vinny,” said Kolenda after the game. “Vinny took a look, he picked his head up and skated to the middle of the ice and had a nice hard shot on net. It just deflected toward the five-hole and it was good. It was a good play and a good shot by Vinny.”
It was also a night that saw a classic playoff goaltenders’ duel, with Niagara netminder Jackson Techroeb turning aside all 38 shots he faced, while AIC counterpart Hunter Leisner stopped 43 Niagara shots.
“We’re not in overtime without him,” said Niagara head coach David Burkholder about Teichroeb’s performance. “He’s the star of the game for me in my book. And their guy (Leisner) as well. Obviously the two goalies stole the show. It’s playoff hockey.”
The Yellow Jackets outshot Niagara in the opening period by 12-7 but the Purple Eagles had a couple of decent scoring chances. The best came when Muto blasted a shot from the point that rang off the goalpost.
The Purple Eagles rallied to outshoot their guests in the second period, 16-8, and then 10-6 in the third period.
“That second period, you’d like to get a couple (goals) and play with the lead, we outshot them and outchanced them,” said Burkholder.
Niagara was missing several players including Issac Kohls, one of the team’s two leading scorers. Five of Niagara’s six scratches were due to injuries. Along with Kohls, Nick Cecere, Matt Chiarantano, Matt Dineen and Brock Edwards were out with various injuries.