Photo Credit:Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography
After a weekend full of twists and turns for Atlantic Hockey here are some reasons to watch Niagara against AIC in Lewiston this weekend. This series is between the upstart Purple Eagles who are close to earning a national ranking and an AIC team looking to add more hardware to their collection with a new group.
The Purple Eagles showed what they can be against Omaha this past weekend. This week, they face an AIC team that pushed Umass Amherst to the brink with a 2-2 tie. Jason Lammers may have a contender on his hands if his group can get three or more points against an AIC team that played well enough to earn a victory against the Minutemen. Chad Veltri showed how capable he is, putting on a series reminiscent of his master class leading the Purple Eagles to an upset over Robert Morris in the postseason two seasons ago. Lucas Bahn, and Casey Carreau made immediate impacts as transfers with both contributing to the game winning goal Saturday night and adding skill to the always physical group Lammers has.
For AIC, this weekend begins their fight for five straight regular season Atlantic Hockey Championships. This is arguably the deepest team Eric Lang has, despite losing many great players he and his staff reloaded quickly with the transfer portal. Despite all of the turnover, and change, one thing has been consistent for AIC. Jarrett Fiske has been in the room for the last three seasons and a part of the winning every step of the way. Now he is playing a patient game in net, and showing on ice what everyone on campus knows about the two sport athlete. He is a constant presence and his ability to focus on the next play has helped a team full of new players get through their first two weekends of play. Now we see what this team looks like in the conference against a Niagara team that could get a national ranking if they play well at home. Another returner for AIC that reminded us of his skill is Blaje Bennett. The scoring forward had a bar down wrister from the slot last weekend that served as his “allow me to reintroduce myself” moment. For AIC, they need to keep their energy from this past weekend. Omaha got far more chances against Niagara than the Purple Eagles would liked to concede. For all of the conference this is a big series ahead and a potential postseason preview.
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