Niagara Gazette — The Niagara hockey team was handed its second loss in conference play as the Purple Eagles fell to Mercyhurst, 4-2, Tuesday evening at the Mercyhurst Ice Center in Erie, Pa.
The teams headed into the final frame knotted at two, and the shot count just as close with Niagara (3-7-1, 3-2-1 AHA) holding a slim 22-21 advantage. Despite a strong middle frame, the Purple Eagles came out slow in the final period, allowing the Lakers (4-6-1, 3-1-0) to pepper Niagara goaltender Jackson Teichroeb with early opportunities.
Mercyhurst regained the lead just 1:10 into the third when Zac Frischmon corralled a bouncing puck in front of the net and lifted it top shelf to make it a 2-1 game. The Lakers would not relinquish the lead as Frischmon put the Lakers up 4-2 just under three minutes later with a high-rising wrist shot that flew over the glove of Teichroeb for his second of the contest with 16:14 remaining in the game.
Niagara had a short-handed goal disallowed with 1:09 remaining in regulation as it was deflected past Mercyhurst netminder Jimmy Sarjeant by a high stick.
"Mercyhurst certainly took it to us in the first 10 minutes of the game, but we certainly settled in the second half of the first period, and we played our game during the second frame," Niagara coach Dave Burkholder said. "I thought we played the better game, but unfortunately in the third period we looked like a team that'd played three games in five days. Mercyhurst is a tremendous team up front with a lot of weapons and their forwards made two more plays than we did in the third period which was the difference in the game."
A fast-paced opening period saw a trio of goals scored, two by Mercyhurst.
Mercyhurst broke through the scoreless game at 8:09 of the first period as Kyle Dutra's slap shot from the point beat Teichroeb low, stick-side.
It didn't take long for the Purple Eagles to respond as Chris Lochner cashed in on his second goal of the year on an assist from Mike Conderman 28 seconds later. Mercyhurst netminder Jimmy Sarjeant gave up a big rebound off Conderman's long shot, and Lochner made a diving play across the crease to pop the puck past Sarjeant to make it 1-1.
The first power play of the game went in favor of Niagara, but it was the Lakers that capitalized on a struggling Purple Eagle power play midway through the stanza. Daniel O'Donogue dished a pass to Matt Zay from behind the net, and the junior's deke put Teichroeb down before he slid a backhand underneath the goalie's pads.
The Niagara power play was put to work for the third time in the game 34 seconds in the second period, and this time the Purple Eagles were able to benefit while on the man-advantage. Sargeant once again allowed a rebound off a Conderman shot and Isaac Kohls pounced on the rebound to tie the game at two apiece 56 seconds into the second.
Teichroeb stopped 28 Mercyhurst shots, while his Sargeant pushed aside 27 Niagara looks. The Purple Eagles went 1 for 3 on the power play and kept the Lakers scoreless on the man-advantage (0 for 2).
Niagara will continue its eight-game road trip on Friday when the Purple Eagles take to the ice against No. 5/5 Michigan at Yost Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:07 p.m.