Niagara Gazette — Editor's note: due to technical issues earlier in the week we are reposting this story from Sunday, January 12 upon request.
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LEWISTON — After Friday night’s travesty, hopefully an aberration for Niagara’s sake, the Purple Eagles had nowhere to go but up.
On a night barely 24 hours after getting horrifically scorched, the Niagara University hockey team redeemed itself in a 5-0 victory over American International College at Dwyer Arena on Saturday evening.
Apparently the embarrassment after Friday’s loss motivated Isaac Kohls and his club immensely - on paper at least. The junior right winger continued his hot streak with two goals to serve as a vanguard for the Niagara attack. Kohls now has four goals in his last three games after getting only three in his first 17 games.
Kohls resurrected his game recently and lately it is paying enormous dividends.
“Getting to the front of the net,” he said about the reason for his resurgence. “When you are carrying the puck on the outside and not getting to the areas, you are not going to score. I think after going home for break and coming back, I realized to score more, I needed to get to the areas where you get an opportunity to score.”
Ryan Rashid, Hugo Turcotte and T.J. Sarcona also scored for Niagara. which is 2-1-2 in its last five games.
With Niagara leading 1-0, Kohls gave the Purple Eagles some breathing room with two goals just over two minutes apart early in the second period. His first came when he snapped a shot past the glove of AIC goaltender Hunter Leisner at 2:07. He then picked up a loose puck just outside of the crease during a frenzied scramble in front of the Yellow Jackets net and lifted the puck over Leisner to put the Purple Eagles in command 3-0.
That was the ballgame.
The win upped Niagara’s record to 5-5-3 in Atlantic Hockey and 5-12-3 overall. The Purple Eagles were hoping Friday’s game would catapult them to a win streak. Obviously that did not transpire, so now they have to hope this victory will. Niagara coach Dave Burkholder liked his club’s response.
“You expect it, but it is a huge relief,” said Burkholder regarding his club’s rebound after Friday’s dreadful performance. “They (AIC) are really good. So it was a very, very good team effort from start to finish. It was a huge bounce back.”
Turcotte also continued a miniature hot streak with his second goal in as many games. He also had two assists.
A notable story also was that Niagara received a solid goaltending performance from Jackson Teichroeb, who appeared to be feel serene in steering aside 12 shots. The freshman has only allowed six goals in his last four starts.
“Poise. Nothing fazed him,” Burkholder said. “He got us whistles when we needed it. He did a great job.”
The Yellow Jackets fell to 5-8-0 in conference play and 5-14-0 overall. AIC’s Jon Puskar, who had four goals on Friday night, only had only one shot in this one.
When it was all said and done, Rashid seemed at ease after Saturday’s result, one which was as different as night and day compared to Friday.
“Last night we didn’t get the bounces,” he said. “I thought 48 out of the 60 minutes we had a pretty good game. We just wanted to carry that over to tonight, and that was good.”
Niagara continues its 5-game homestand against Holy Cross next Friday and Saturday at 7:05 pm.
A Niagara official confirmed that senior Ryan Murphy, who was suspended earlier in the season, is all done with the Purple Eagles. The Purple Eagles spokeswoman said Niagara coaches met two weeks ago and decided Murphy will not return.