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[BN] Rinkside: Five things to know as Niagara travels to Air Force

Niagara at Air Force
9:05 p.m. Friday
7:05 p.m. Saturday
at Cadet Ice Arena

1. Niagara has lost its last three. The Purple Eagles are on a three-game losing streak and have not won in four games. Niagara was outplayed at home last weekend in a pair of losses to RIT – 7-1 and 6-2. Overall the Purps are 2-11-3 and tied for the basement of Atlantic Hockey (with Sacred Heart) with a 2-6-2 league mark.

2. Air Force needs a bounce-back weekend. The Falcons are coming off a one-point weekend at Holy Cross. They picked up their lone point in a 2-2 tie, then suffered a 3-2 loss. At 4-3-1 in Atlantic Hockey, the Falcons want to make up some ground. They are just three points ahead of Niagara.

3. Niagara's defense is lacking. The Purps have the worst goals-against per game in Atlantic Hockey as league opponents have scored an average of 4.00 goals. Nationally, Niagara is second-last in goals allowed per game with 4.62. The only team giving up more is Arizona State (4.76).

4. Air Force is led by a defenseman. Junior defender Phil Boje leads the team in points with 14 – five coming on the power play. Two of his five goals have come with the man advantage. While the Falcons' power play ranks mid-pack in Atlantic Hockey, they should have plenty of opportunities as Niagara leads the league in penalty minutes, averaging 22 per game.

5. Kyle Mackey is helping the Air Force power play. Mackey, a junior defenseman, has all five of his points, including two goals, on the power play. Mackey, a native of Derby, played for the Buffalo Jr. Sabres in 2011-12 before moving to the USHL, where he played for the Youngstown Phantoms. In 74 career games with Air Force he has six goals and 16 assists.

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