Niagara Gazette — The Niagara University hockey team will open its defense of the Atlantic Hockey Association regular season title with two games against the Clarkson Golden Knights of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference during the first weekend of October.
The Purple Eagles released their 2013-14 hockey schedule Wednesday.
“We have certainly found out in our three years in Atlantic Hockey how grueling the league schedule is,” said head coach David Burkholder in a statement released by the school. “Every point is of great importance for the playoff seeding. That being said, we also always try and make sure we challenge ourselves to the utmost with the allowable non-conference games. Everyone associated with Niagara Hockey is excited to play this demanding schedule.”
After the Purple Eagles open the season against Clarkson October 5 and 6, the team will host their first AHA opponent, Canisius College, on October 12.
Niagara travels to Moon Township, Pa. to take on Robert Morris before meeting Denver league opponent Air Force on Oct. 25 and 27, respectively. Niagara will also face Ohio State in November, followed by a two-game homestand against Army November 15 and 16.
The team’s longest road trip of the season starts with a game against Mercyhurst on the first of two Tuesday evening games, November 19, followed by a game against Michigan to be played at Yost Arena on November 22. The Purple Eagles close out November with ECAC opponent Cornell on Tuesday, Nov. 26 in the team’s final non-conference matchup of the season.
Niagara's December schedule includes an outdoor game, against RIT, on Saturday, December 14 at Frontier Field.
The Purple Eagles will take part in the season’s first home-and-home series when they host the RIT Tigers on January 24, traveling to RIT the following day.
The 2014 Atlantic Hockey playoffs begin on Friday, March 7, with the top four teams receiving byes, while the other eight teams compete in a best two-out-of-three series. The AHA Championship game will take place March 22 at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester.
“There are no easy games at this level and we are testing ourselves with some of the best college hockey has to offer,” Burkholder said.
Niagara returns 20 players from last year’s roster that went 23-10-5, capturing the AHA Regular Season title and the program’s fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament.
The team's full schedule is available at www.purpleeagles.com.