Derian Plouffe scored two goals, including one off a spectacular kick to himself while facing two defenders, in Niagara’s comfortable 6-3 victory against Air Force in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Niagara pulled away in the second and beginning of the third period, scoring three straight goals to push the lead to 6-2. Plouffe’s pair of goals were Niagara’s final two of the evening.
Eric Cooley, Tanner Lomsnes, Niko Kovachis and Johnny Curran also scored for the Purple Eagles. Kovachis also had two assists to earn his first career multi-point game.
Noah Delmas earned his Atlantic Hockey-leading 16th assist of the season on Cooley’s game-opening goal.
The Purple Eagles are 8-4-1, up to a three-game increase from their win total in the entirety of last season.
Vikings best Niagara
Niagara women’s basketball couldn’t string two wins together, losing 70-61 to Cleveland State Saturday. The loss pushes the Purple Eagles to 1-6 on the season.
Cleveland State’s leading scorer, forward Ashanti Abshaw, used high-volume shooting to notch 30 points. She shot 12 for 25 from the field and 3 for 10 from 3-point range to eclipse her season average by almost 12 points.
Niagara forward Victoria Rampado led the Purple Eagles with 18 points, continuing her streak of scoring in double-digits in every game this season.
Forward Kaylee Stroemple was the Purple Eagles’ only other double-digit scorer. She notched 16 points.
After a back-and-forth first quarter, Cleveland State pushed ahead by outscoring the Purple Eagles 25-13 in the second. Niagara wasn’t able to recover despite outscoring the Vikings in both the third and fourth quarters.
The Purple Eagles struggled from 3-point range, hitting 18.2 percent.
Niagara has a quick turnaround, as the Purple Eagles will play Hartford on the road Sunday.
Bulls face Arizona State
UB women’s basketball is off to a 4-0 start after flashy victories against Clemson and Nebraska at the San Juan Shootout. Today, the Bulls face their toughest challenge yet.
Coach Felisha Legette-Jack and the Bulls are out west to battle Arizona State, a team just outside both the AP and Coaches Polls’ Top 25.
The Sun Devils fell out of the polls after a pair of losses to Mississippi State and Green Bay last week, but are coming off a 20-win season and a trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Bulls have looked strong out of the gate, benefitting from Cierra Dillard’s easy transition into the UB offense. The UMass transfer is averaging 13 points, 4.5 assists, 4.8 steals and 2.8 rebounds per game this season.
The Bulls have been successful defensively, a usual characteristic of Legette-Jack’s UB squads. Buffalo is first in the MAC and fourth in Division I basketball in field goal percentage defense. Opponents shoot just 31.6 percent from the field.
The game starts at 4:30 p.m. and can be watched on the Pac-12 Network. UB will either play UNLV or UC Riverside Sunday.