LEWISTON -- The winless streak stretched to 10 games for Niagara as the Purple Eagles dropped a 4-2 decision to Army West Point at Dwyer Arena Friday night. Niagara is now 0-9-1 in its last 10 games with its lone point coming in a 3-3 tie at Canisius Jan. 16.
Army West Point built a 3-0 first-period lead, taking advantage of every opportunity in front of the net. The teams traded goals in the second with Niagara pressing hard in the third. The Purple Eagles held a 14-8 advantage in shots over the final 20 minutes and Sean King tallied on the power play but the rally fell short.
Buffalo native Parker Gahagen backstopped the Black Knights to the win. Gahagen finished with 29 saves as Army West Point snapped a five-game winless streak.
Records: The loss sunk Niagara deeper into last place in Atlantic Hockey, now at 3-13-2 in conference play and 3-19-3 overall. Army West Point moved to 4-9-6 in Atlantic Hockey and 6-11-6 overall.
Scoring first: Army took a 1-0 lead at 7:12 when Clint Carlisle found Brendan McGuire for a tip-in. McGuire was all alone in front of Niagara goaltender Jackson Teichroeb and the pass was so spot on, Teichroeb never even saw it.
Power play goals: The Black Knights took advantage of both their power plays in the first period to build a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes. Conor Andrle took the puck along the boards, skated in from the corner and slide a puck under Teichroeb. Then Trevor Fidler then scored with 34 seconds left in the period, again on the power play.
When trailing: Niagara has just three wins on the year, but they have all come with the Purple Eagles taking the early lead. They are 0-9-0 when trailing after the first period and 0-15-1 when trailing after two.
On the board: The Purple Eagles got on the board with 2:07 left in the second. Their forecheck had been much stronger all period and the physical play helped earn them some power play time. That's when TJ Sarcona cashed in to make it a 3-1 game.
The response: With 3.9 seconds left in the second the Black Knights regained their three-goal lead when Andrle snipped a shot high past Teichroeb. That took away momentum from the Purple Eagles and gave Army West Point a 4-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Goalie change: Guillaume Therien took over the Niagara net in the third period. Teichroeb finished with 16 saves while Therien made eight.
Another power play tally: Niagara cut the lead to 4-2 with 9:51 left in the third period when Sean King found himself open at the side of the net with the puck on his stickand buried his opportunity.
Scratches: Nick Cecere, Dan Kolenda, Robert Angiolella and Luke Edwards were all sidelined with injuries while Brock Edwards, Keegan Harper and Chris Paulin were healthy scratches for Niagara. Army West Point scratched Dalton MacAfee, Tipper Higgins, Garret Peterson, Luke Jenkins and Ian Murdoch.
Counting the house: There were 747 at Dwyer Arena.
Up next: Niagara hosts Army West Point at 7:05 p.m. Saturday to close out the regular season series. Then the Purple Eagles travel to Springfield, Mass. Feb. 5-6 for two games with American International.