By Thomas Baldwin email@example.com
Niagara Gazette — LEWISTON — At least a pair of locals were happy with what transpired Sunday in Dwyer Arena.
The problem for the Niagara University hockey team is that they both played for Clarkson.
Grand Island’s Joe and Matt Zarbo each contributed as the Golden Knights defeated the Purple Eagles 2-0 to complete a weekend sweep in front of 998 relatively tranquil fans. Joe scored the eventual game winning goal and Matt assisted on Clarkson’s insurance tally.
The 0-2-0 Purple Eagles — ranked No. 20 in the USCHO.COM poll entering the weekend — will not be ranked this week and have to regroup in preparation for hated Canisius on Saturday.
The Golden Knights, who only won nine games last season, have already won their first two.
“It is a great feeling, playing in front of my family and friends, coming back home,” said Joe Zorbo, a junior. “To get the sweep on the road, it is an unreal feeling.”
Joe Zorbo scored the only goal Clarkson would need when he took a Pat Megannety pass in the slot on a rare four-on-two and whizzed the puck past Niagara goaltender Adrian Ignagni at 8:03 of the second period on the power play.
Just over six minutes later, senior Matt Zarbo set up defenseman Paul Geiger for Clarkson’s second goal. Geiger’s shot from the point whizzed by a cluster of players past Ignagni to give the Golden Knights a 2-0 advantage.
After Saturday night’s loss, Niagara coach Dave Burkholder was not pleased with his club’s collective effort. On Sunday, his assessment of the Purple Eagles was much better.
“I thought we played with a lot of jam,” Burkholder said. “I thought we were physical again, and there was no quit. And that’s all you can ask. That is how our guys are judged. They are judged on their work ethic and their commitment to detail.
“I think our coaching staff can accept that.”
Like Jackson Teichroeb the night before, Ignagni played well in stopping 27 shots but was not happy with losing.
“It is tough going out there and losing your first game,” he said. “Doing well and trying to keep your team in the games gives you a little confidence. But you have to win. Both me and Jackson were brought here to try to win.”
For now, the competition continues for Ignagni and Teichroeb, who have been battling since training camp.
“We both knew coming in this year that there is going to be a competition in every game and every practice, to see who is going to start,” Ignagni said. “I think it is a good thing. There is nothing wrong with that. Hopefully you are going to have two goalies that are going all of the time. Its good.”
Freshman goaltender Steve Perry made 30 saves for Clarkson. The Golden Knights were 1 for 3 on the power play while Niagara was blanked in five attempts.
Burkholder had no update on Niagara senior Ryan Murphy, who missed his second straight game because of what Niagara officials termed “personal reasons.” Murphy is listed as being out indefinitely.
Iona 3, Niagara 0
The Purple Eagles were defeated by the Gaels in straight sets Sunday, 25-20, 25-12 and 25-19.
Melissa McGwin and Amanda Sedore each shared team-high honors with seven kills, while Allison Reis led the team with 11 digs and Logan Rae had a team-high 18 assists in her second match as setter.
Niagara (1-17, 0-7 MAAC) was unable to match Saturday’s dramatic five-set match against Manhattan. The Purple Eagles played Iona (6-11, 4-3 MAAC) close in the first and third sets. In the first set, the match was tied at 14-14 when Iona went on a 4-0 spurt.
An attacking error by Iona brought Niagara to 21-19 but it would be the closet it would get. Iona comfortably won the second set, before pulling away in the third set. The set was tied at 13-13 when the Gaels used an 8-1 run to create distance.
Niagara is on the road next weekend for matches against Quinnipiac and Fairfield.