Hockey forced to tie against Niagara with late goal, 2-2

Senior Reporter and Senior Reporter

A late defensive lapse cost the BG hockey team, as it tied with Niagara, 2-2, in its season opener Saturday in Lewiston, N.Y.

Niagara scored with 50 seconds remaining in the third period to tie the game on a goal from Chris Lochner, who found an open space by the BG net. He received a nice pass from Kevin Albers after he was able to hold the puck in at the blue line.

“It’s too bad that after battling back to make it 2-1, we give up the goal late and allow them to tie it,” said BG Assistant Coach Ty Eigner following the game. “But they played hard too … so it was a good change for us to get out and take 22 guys on the road and get a chance to know what being on the road is all about.”

Both team’s goaltenders — Carsen Chubak for Niagara and Andrew Hammond for BG — were busy during the game, with each team amassing 30-plus shots. BG put 36 shots on Chubak, while Niagara got 30 shots on Hammond.

Many of those scoring chances came from sloppy play on both sides. Both teams committed multiple turnovers that led to scoring chances the other way, and the teams combined to take 10 minor penalties in the game — seven of those by Niagara.

“You could see early in the game that it was sloppy on both sides, like you’d expect a first game to be,” Eigner said. “Everyone’s energy is running high, so the emotion and the effort is going to be great, but sometimes the execution leaves a little to be desired. But I think as the game went on our guys settled in.”

Niagara got on the board first late in the second period, when Rocky Gruttadauria hammered home a rebound off a point shot from Kevin Ryan.

However, that lead lasted less than two minutes, as Cam Wojtala also capitalized on a rebound.

Adam Berkle received a pass for Dajon Mingo and released a shot in the slot. The shot tied up Chubak and Wojtala was able to deposit the rebound.

“It was just a scramble in front; a bunch of guys were whacking at it and it just ended up on my stick, so a little bit lucky I guess,” Wojtala said.

Bobby Shea put the Falcons ahead 2-1 late in the third, launching a one-timer in the slot from a pass from Dan DeSalvo.

“There was a little scrum behind the net and I saw DeSalvo get the puck and he made a nice pass and I just shot the puck,” Shea said. “At first I thought the goalie stopped it, but it snuck through and found the net.”

Four Falcons — Mingo, Jose Delgadillo, Ben Murphy and Mark Cooper — saw their first college action in the game, while DeSalvo played his first game at center for BG.

Hammond picked up right where he left off at the end of last season, stopping 28 of 30 shots. Despite the tie, the Falcons were looking at the things they could improve on.

“We just have to make better plays with the puck,” Shea said. “There’s a lot of plays we could’ve made, like at the end of the game [before Niagara’s second goal], you got to get that puck out of the zone.

“It’s just little things like that. It’s the first game, so everyone is a little rusty, but I think in the future that’s going to come along.”