NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. – No. 17 Niagara University scored goals in the second and third periods to hold off Bentley University for a 2-1 win in the opener of an Atlantic Hockey series Friday night at Dwyer Arena. Senior Brett Hartung (Tallahassee, Fla./Wichita Falls Wildcats) scored the only goal for the Falcons, and goaltender Branden Komm (Williamsville, N.Y./Northfield Mount Hermon) made 37 saves.
Niagara, which came into the game on a 15-game home unbeaten streak and in first-place in Atlantic Hockey, improves to 16-4-5 overall and 15-1-2 in conference play. The Falcons dip below .500 overall at 11-12-1 overall and 9-8-1 in conference games.
Goalies Komm and Carsen Chubak were locked in a scoreless duel for almost half the game until Niagara's Jeff Hannan scored at 9:56 of the second period to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. Despite the goal, Komm almost single-handily kept the Falcons in the game. Bentley was outshot 20-5 in the second period, but Komm made 19 saves, and 30 total through two periods.
Niagara's lead was pushed to 2-0 at 7:19 of the third period on sophomore Chris Lochner's eighth goal of the year. But a little over a minute later, the Falcons cut the lead in half on Hartung's sixth of the season at 8:54, with defenseman Michael Reardon (Norwood, Mass./South Shore Kings) and senior Joe Campanelli (Pierrefonds, Quebec/Westminster Prep) on the assists.
Komm was pulled for the final 1:12 as Bentley searched for the tying goal, but came up empty. Freshman Andrew Gladiuk (White Rock, British Columbia/Nanaimo Clippers) hit the post in the final push for the equalizer.
These same two teams will go at it again Saturday night as the Falcons will look to earn a split. Face-off is set for 7:05 pm.