Niagara Gazette


October 5, 2012

Is this the year?

Niagara men's hockey team hopes strong finish to last season puts them back on postseason schedule

Niagara Gazette — LEWISTON — During this century, the Niagara men's hockey team has qualified for the NCAA Tournament in every leap year, before falling short in 2012.

Great programs don’t rebuild. They reload, on the fly. But could this be another year of transition for the Purple Eagles?

Niagara placed second in the Atlantic Hockey coaches poll released last week. They open the season this with a non-conference game at 4 p.m. today against Bowling Green at Dwyer Arena.

Niagara sizzled at the end of last season, going 10-2-2 in its last 14 regular season games. Niagara coach Dave Burkholder and the players hope the momentum carries over to the beginning of this year, which opens with eight of 12 games on the road.

“I think we are much more experienced,” Burkholder said. “I think we are finally old, if you will. I look back on last year’s experience, and just to have that winning feeling around here again for a whole semester, and to have everyone back, we just think our upperclassmen are fantastic leaders on and off of the ice. I can’t wait to see where we are this year.”

Twenty two players return this season, so continuity is there.

A concern could be in goal, where Chris Noonan is gone after carrying the Purple Eagles the second half of last season. 

Returning are junior Cody Campbell (2-2-3, 2.82 goals against average, .913 save percentage) and sophomore Colby Drost (1-2-1, 2.35 GAA). The wild card could be junior Carsen Chubak, who was solid two seasons ago before being injured. Last season, he played in the first two periods of the season opening loss at Michigan. But, he did not play again all season. He did claim last week he is 100 percent ready to go.

“We sat here a year ago and said we had a four-man competition for the No. 1, and hope come second semester, someone would win that, and Chris did that,” Burkholder said. “It is the same thing this year. I have 1A, B and C. It is an open competition, and my hope is, that someone’s going to take it and run with the No. 1 job.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page