LEWISTON, N.Y.-Top seeded Niagara beat RIT 3-2 in the first of three games in the AHA Tournament Quarterfinals at Dwyer Arena on Friday.
Giancarlo Iuorio led the way for the Purple Eagles with 3 points, 2 goals and 1 assist. Iuorio's two goals came at crucial moments in the third period for Niagara.
Niagara and RIT found themselves tied 1-1 at the end of the second period, but in the third period Iuorio tipped a shotpast RIT's Goaltender Jordan Ruby with 16:33 left in regulation. RIT was able to tie the game 2-2 minutes later with a powerplay goal from Adam Mitchell.
Iuorio gave Niagara the go-ahead goal with 8:32 seconds left in regulation on a feed from Dan Wiess. RIT was able to create many chances in the Niagara zone in the final 8 minutes of the game but Carson Chubak and the Purple Eagles defense stood strong and didn't surrender a goal. Chubak finished the game with 25 saves and gave an outstanding effort.
Niagara held a 32-27 advantage in the shot department as The Purple Eagles extended their home winning streak to 21 games, one shy of the program record 22 games.
Although it is just one game, The Purple Eagles know finishing this series to move on to the Semifinals will not be an easy task. The RIT Tigers have come back from being down 1-0 in a best-of-three series and won two times, the most recent was last year against Bentley.
The Tigers and Purple Eagles will meet again on Saturday night at 7 PM in game two of the Quarterfinal series. Game three will take place on Sunday at 7 PM if needed.