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Andrew Hareâ€™s 48 save performance helped propel the Niagara University Purple Eagles to a 6-2 decision over the Quinnipiac University Bobcats in non-conference action Friday night at the TD Bank Sports Center.
It was Hareâ€™s first career victory in his fifth game played.
â€œHeâ€™s been practicing better and we thought he deserved a start since itâ€™s our last non conference weekend,â€ said Niagara head coach Dave Burkholder. â€œHare was under enormous pressure and made all of the first saves. Our defense did a great job of protecting him.â€
Niagara opened up the scoring at 4:20 of the first with Wes Consortiâ€™s rebound goal, his first of the season. Tyler Matthews carried the puck over the blue line and put a shot on Quinnipiacâ€™s Dan Clarke. He made the save, but it popped back out into play and Consorti crashed the net for the rebound and poked it through the five-hole for the goal.
Less than a minute later, Chris Moran extended the lead when he took a puck from behind the net and walked to the right circle and fired a shot on net. Clarke was screened by two Niagara players and the puck found its way to the back of the net.
â€œObviously coming here these are big games for us,â€ said Burkholder. â€œWe need to be more disciplined [tomorrow] and protecting our goalies after whistles. We need to stay out of the box; they have some high end skill on their power play.â€
Dan Baco gave Niagara a three goal lead when he beat Clarke through the five-hole. Matthews sent a pass from the neutral zone to spring Baco, where he carried the puck into the zone and hit the back of the twine at 7:59 of the second.
After the goal, Clarke was pulled in favor of Mathieu Cadieux.
Niagaraâ€™s Paul Zanette gave the Purple Eagles a lead of four goals, this time on the penalty kill. On a turnover by the Bobcats at center ice, Zanette picked off a pass and skated into the Quinnipiac zone. He laced a shot, far side, over the glove of Cadieux at 16:58 of the second.
Quinnipiac got on the board with Greg Holtâ€™s power-play goal with under one minute remaining in the second. After facing 21 shots, Andrew Hare was beat by Greg Holt on the 22nd shot. Holt received a pass from Jean-Marc Beaudoin and skated into the slot and ripped a shot past Hare on his glove.
â€œWe had 50 shots on net and had 106 attempted shots, so were generating the offense and the guys are competing and we have to find a way to get the puck in the net,â€ said Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold. â€œGive Andrew Hare a lot of credit, he played great and competed. He was the best player on the ice tonight. Sometimes you just run into a hot goalie.â€
Jason Beattie helped Niagara regain their four goal lead when he blasted a shot from the point on a one time pass from Giancarlo Iuorio at 6:04.
Brian Haczyk added the Purple Eaglesâ€™ second shorthanded goal of the night when he went up top and beat Cadieux on the blocker side.
â€œWe need to be better defensively,â€ said Pecknold. â€œWe were bad tonight giving up a lot of odd man rushes and quality chances. You canâ€™t win a lot of hockey games when you play defense like that.â€
Ben Arnt added a power-play goal with three seconds remaining to cap the scoring. It was his first career goal in a Bobcats uniform.
Quinnipiac (13-10-1) is now 2-11 all time against the Purple Eagles and 1-4 at home. The Bobcats last home win versus Niagara (7-13-2) came on Jan. 28, 2006, a 5-2 victory, at the Northford Ice Pavilion. Quinnipiac is now 1-9-1 in their last 11 games after starting the season 12-1.
Clarke made 11 saves in the loss, while Cadieux made nine in the non-decision.
Both teams square off again in the second game of the two game set on Saturday night.