T.J. Sarcona’s second goal of the game, on the power play with 4:03 left in the second period, proved to be the game winner as Niagara (1-7-1, 1-2-1 Atlantic Hockey) hung on for its first hockey victory of the season, a 5-4 triumph over Mercyhurst (3-6-0, 3-3-0 Atlantic Hockey) at Dwyer Arena in Lewiston.
The Purple Eagles skated to a 3-0 lead on goals by Vinny Muto, Derrian Plouffe and Tyler Hayes (short-handed) in the opening period only to see it erased by the Lakers. Jack Riley, Michael Verboom and Stephen Hrehoriak scored second-period goals for Mercyhurst. But Sarcona scored his first at 9:53 of the second to give Niagara the lead, 4-3. His game winner came at 15:57.
Riley scored on the power play with 1:24 left in the third period as the Lakers pulled their goalie for an added attacker.
Niagara’s sophomore goalie Guillaume Therrien made 34 saves and had the assist on the short-handed tally by freshman defenseman Hayes. Two Mercyhurst goalies, Colin DeAugustine (first period) and Brandon Wildung combined for 30 saves.
Besides his two goals, his first of the season, Sarcona, a senior left wing, assisted on Plouffe’s when the teams were skating four to a side in the opening period.
The Purple Eagles had five lost straight since a 4-4 tie with Rensselaer on Oct. 21 in Troy.
Niagara will play its next four games on the road in Atlantic Hockey. Coach Dave Burkholder’s team will Sacred Heart on Friday and Saturday in Bridgeport, Conn. and take on AIC next week in Springfield, Mass. The next home games are against Bentley at Dwyer Arena on Dec. 2-3.