Mercyhurst University (14-13-3, 11-9-2 AHA) vs. No. 16 Niagara (19-6-5, 18-3-2)
When: Friday and Saturday, 7:05 p.m.
Where: Friday at Dwyer Arena – Niagara University, N.Y.; Saturday at Mercyhurst Ice Center
On the air: www.americaonesports.com (live stream), www.hurstathletics.com (live statistics)
What to expect: Mercyhurst slipped to third in the Atlantic Hockey Association standings after being swept at home by Rochester Institute of Technology, 3-2 in overtime and 5-3, last weekend. … The Lakers hold a two-point lead over Connecticut, Holy Cross and RIT while trailing second-place Air Force by three points in the race for a top-four finish and a first-round bye in the conference tournament. Four points separate the Lakers from Bentley and Canisius, which are tied for eighth, with four games left in the regular season. … Niagara clinched the regular-season championship last weekend, their first AHA title since joining the conference in the 2010-11 season and first overall since 2006-07 in the now-defunct College Hockey America men’s conference. … Mercyhurst is winless in four straight games (0-3-1), their longest skid in more than three years. … The Lakers opened the season Oct. 13 with a 2-1 loss at Niagara. … Lakers coach Rick Gotkin needs two wins to become the 26th college coach to reach 450 career wins. … Fifth-year senior G Max Strang has made 10 straight starts. … Junior D Randy Cure (upper-body injury) rejoined the lineup last weekend after missing a month. … Sophomore F Nardo Nagtzaam (lower body) hasn’t played since early January. … Sophomore F Chris Bodo is tied for third in NCAA Division I with eight power-play goals. … Junior F Daniel O’Donoghue is tied for the national lead with three short-handed goals. … Junior G Carson Chubak, who joins senior F Giancarlo Iuorio on the Hobey Baker Award list for national player of the year, leads the nation with six shutouts. Chubak also ranks among the top 10 with a 1.76 goals-against average, .942 save percentage and .768 winning percentage. … Mercyhurst’s fifth-ranked scoring offense (3.33 goals per game) faces Niagara’s defense, which is tied for 12th at 2.33 goals against per game. The Purple Eagles also are tied for 12th with 3.20 goals scored per game. The Lakers are tied for 34th in scoring defense at 2.80 goals per game.
- Victor Fernandes