By Thomas Baldwin
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Lewiston — Niagara’s hockey team is one of the hottest teams in Atlantic Hockey, and on Saturday night the team was looking to extend its five-game winning streak.
Thanks to scortching-hot goaltender Carson Chubak and a strong overall team performance, the Purple Eagles did just that, beating Robert Morris 3-0.
Niagara may be able to play with any team in the nation right now, but coach Dave Burkholder isn’t too concerned about where the Purple Eagles stand in the national polls.
“I don’t think we do as a staff,” said Burkholder, whose team improved to 7-0-0 in conference play and 8-2-3 overall in front of 1,163 fans in Dwyer Arena. “I don’t know if our players follow that. It is what it is. We are undefeated in league play, which is everything for us. I think every point is big in Atlantic Hockey.
“We will see what they (the polls) say on Monday.”
Freshman Hugo Turcotte scored the only goal Niagara needed just 1:19 into the game before Giancarlo Luorio scored later in the first period. Ryan Murphy added a goal midway through the third.
In a scenario which has become steadily routine already this season, and which serious Purple Eagles fans can now almost take for granted, Niagara used another strong goaltending performance from Chubak and adept defensive play to systematically suffocate its opponent.
Quite simply, the Purple Eagles do not surrender many goals. They have only given up six during the unbeaten streak. They don’t score much, but haven’t really had to.
“It feels like the same game out there every game almost,” said Chubak, who made 43 saves and has given up a total of six goals, with five shutouts, in his last eight starts. “Hopefully we can just keep getting ‘W’s. That is the big part of it.”
Niagara has dominated Atlantic Hockey opponents so far this season, outscoring them 24-3.
“Going into the break we can’t be playing any better,” Chubak said. “We are happy with our conference play, for sure.”
Now Niagara gets a break until hosting Atlantic Hockey cellar-dweller Sacred Heart on November 30 and December 1 in Dwyer.
“A break is always nice, the season is usually pretty stressful,” Chubak said. “Saying that, it will be a little tough. But we will be ready for our next game, for sure.”
Freshman Terry Shafer made 28 saves for the Colonials, who outshot Niagara 43-31. RMU falls to 3-3-0 in conference play and 4-4-0 overall.