Purple Eagles seek title game spot
Atlantic Hockey Association Tournament semifinal vs. RIT. Where: Harborcenter. Faceoff: 7:30. Radio: WLVL 1340 AM, 105.3 FM
Live video: StretchInternet.com.
Live audio: PurpleEagles. com.
Records: Niagara 16-18-5, Rochester Institute of Technology 17-16-4.
How they got here: Fifthseeded RIT had a first-round bye and eliminated fourthseeded Sacred Heart in the quarterfinals by winning Game 1, 9-4, losing Game 2, 7-3, and winning Game 3, 3-1. Sixth-seeded Niagara beat Canisius in three games in the first-round, with a 5-4 overtime win in Game 1, a 4-3 overtime loss in Game 2 and a 2-1 win in Game 3. Niagara then upended third-seeded Air Force, 3-2 and 5-4, to reach the semifinals.
History: This will be the fifth meeting of the season between the teams, with RIT winning the series, 2-1-1. Niagara’s lone win, a 4-2 decision, was on Feb. 27. Niagara leads the all-time series, 19-12-14. This is the fourth postseason meeting, with Niagara having a 4-2 edge.
New home: The tournament moves to Harborcenter after the last 12 years at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester.
Tight games: Of Niagara’s last nine games, six have been decided by one goal. There have been two ties and one game was a two-goal margin. Five of the Purple Eagles’ last eight games have gone to OT for a total of 49:35 played.
Star freshman: Niagara’s Ludwig Stenlund was the nation’s top freshman in goals (19), points (34), power play goals (9), power play points (15) and shorthanded goals (3). He earned Atlantic Hockey’s Rookie of the Year honors on Thursday.
Scoring prowess: Niagara is No. 11 in Division I in scoring offense at 3.23 goals per game. RIT is 20th at 3.05 per game.
Next: The winner advances to the championship game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Harborcenter against the winner of the No. 1 seed American International vs. No. 8 Robert Morris semifinal (Friday, 4:35 p.m.). The title game winner receives an automatic NCAA bid.