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[BN]Rinkside: Patience pays off for Niagara's Teichroeb

All he could do is stay positive and be patient. And that's not easy when you're injured and your team is losing.

But junior Jackson Teichroeb stayed the course for much of the first semester and returned as Niagara's goaltender ready to help turn around the season for the Purple Eagles.

Teichroeb missed the first 14 games of the season with an injury. Since returning he hasn't missed a beat. He has made five appearances for the Purple Eagles in the last six games, compiling a 1.95 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. He picked up a shutout for good measure, making 24 saves in Niagara's 2-0 win over RIT on Dec. 11.

"It's great to be back in net," Teichroeb said. "It was tough to sit out the first half of the year basically and just watch it unfold. It's good to be back with the guys and able to compete with them."

This is the second time injury has delayed the start to Teichroeb's season. Last year he missed the first six games with a different injury. Each time the process is the same and the most difficult part is being patient.

"You just have to stay positive," he said. "There's protocol we follow and we have a great training staff that's not going to put me in a situation where I won't feel ready to go. It's hard dealing with it and it's really hard to be patient. You want to be out there, but being patient is also very important. If I come back too early and re-injure myself, that's not going to help the team in the long run."

Teichroeb said he feels healthy and his conditioning has come back -- just in time to help the Purple Eagles make a late-season push. Niagara is  3-10-1 and in last place in Atlantic Hockey, but the quality of play has improved. Coach Dave Burkholder talks about his team being "just one weekend away" from getting into the hunt for a home playoff series.

And late season is where Teichroeb has played his best. In the playoffs last year, he posted a 2.40 goals against average and a .938 save percentage in five playoff games. That included a heartbreaking loss when he made 58 saves in a triple-overtime loss to Holy Cross.

"I feel like I have been playing pretty good," Teichroeb said. "The bounces don't always go our way, but it's only a matter of time. Guys will catch fire and we'll be all right here. We each know what we've got to do to be competitive and win games."

The next task is Thursday and Saturday when Niagara gets its first look at HarborCenter to play rival Canisius.

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