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Niagara men’s hockey team’s early lead fails to hold in loss to RIT

Niagara grabbed a 2-0 first period lead against RIT on Saturday night, but the Tigers answered with five tallies in the second period and went on to a 5-2 victory over the Purple Eagles (5-21-5, 5-16-5 AHC) in their Atlantic Hockey game before 3.548 at the Gene Polisseni Center in Rochester. RIT is 14-12-6, 14-7-5 in Atlantic Hockey.

TJ Sarcona tallied at 13:52 of the opening period and Kevin Patterson followed with another tally at 18:03. Andrew Miller got the first RIT goal at 3:17 of the second and it stayed 2-1 until Liam Kerins tallied at 11:54 the first of three Tigers goals in a little less than 5 minutes.

Gabe Valenzuela’s power play goal gave RIT the lead for good at 14:28 and Valenzuela scored again 1:22 later. Erik Brown’s power play goal with 5 seconds left in the second period ended the scoring for the night.

Niagara was 0 for 4 on the power play while RIT was 2 for 5.

Jackson Teichroeb started in goal for Niagara and allowed four goals on 21 shots. Teichroeb was pulled after Valenzuela’s second goal. Guillaume Therrien took over and gave up one goal on seven shots. RIT goalie Nick Amato had 23 saves.

Sarcona beat Amato with a wrist shot for the first Niagara goal. Larry Smith got the assist. Patterson one-timed the second Niagara goal after going in on Amato on a 2-on-2 with Brock Edwards, who got the assist.

Niagara got out of the first period with the lead despite having to kill off three early penalties. However, Kerins got the tying goal on a 3-on-2 in the second period before Valenzuela netted the winner. Niagara outshot the home team 11-4 in the third period but could not break through.

RIT is 4-1-3 against the Purple Eagles over the last eight meetings, winning the 2015-16 season series with a 2-1-1 mark.

The win keeps RIT in a tie for second place in the Atlantic Hockey standings, with Air Force and Holy Cross and clinches a first round bye for the conference tournament.

Niagara will complete its regular season with home games against Air Force on Friday and Saturday night.