Niagara Gazette — Isaac Kohls and Patrick Conte spearheaded the Niagara offense as the Purple Eagles completed a weekend sweep over Western New York rival RIT with a 5-1 victory on Saturday evening in Atlantic Hockey action at Ritter Arena.
Kohls and Conte each notched a pair of goals, while the Purple Eagles (7-14-3, 7-7-3) also received offensive contributions from TJ Sarcona (1-0-1) and Sam Alfieri (0-2-0). Niagara goaltender Adrian Ignagni earned the start in net for the second consecutive night and smothered 40 RIT shots, while his counterpart Jordan Ruby pushed aside 20 Niagara shots before being replaced by Mike Rotolo in the third period. Rotolo finished with seven saves.
“Ignagni had some very timely saves for us tonight. He made the big stops and we scored on our opportunities which was the difference in the game,” head coach Dave Burkholder said. “(These have) been two really good team wins. The coaching staff continues to say on a daily basis that we have enough to win Atlantic Hockey and this team needed to go through a weekend like this to believe that as well. If we continue to play like we did this weekend, it will be a fun month and a half.”
The Tigers (8-13-3, 7-9-1) earned the game’s first power play just 33 seconds after the opening faceoff, which is when Ignagni began to frustrate RIT, making three early stops to backstop the penalty killing unit. The kill tilted momentum towards Niagara as the squad began to pepper Ruby with shots and eventually pulled ahead by two before five minutes ticked off the game clock.
For the second consecutive night Kohls opened the scoring, corralling a rebound off a Vince Muto shot and beating Ruby clean low, glove side at 3:45 for his career-high ninth goal of the season. Less than a minute later Conte fired a laser from the right circle that flew past Ruby far post to give the Purple and White an early 2-0 lead. Kevin Ryan and Sam Alfieri were credited with the assists.