Mariucci Classic Preview: Niagara

The Gophers will hold the annual Mariucci Classic this weekend, hosting Niagara, Northeastern, and Princeton. With a four-team tournament, the only team the Gophers are guaranteed to play is Niagara. GoldenSports.net previews the matchup between these two teams.

Storyline
Niagara will enter the Mariucci Classic riding a hot streak, not losing since November 22th to Cornell, going 3-0-3 during that stretch. The Purple Eagles will present a test for the Gophers as they faceoff this Friday. Niagara has not played the same difficult competition as a WCHA team, but will be a difficult first game while trying to continue their unbeaten streak.

Season to Date
The Purple Eagles are 5-5-6 on year, going 4-2-5 in Atlantic Hockey Association games. Niagara has done well in a number of tough matchups this year, tying 10th-ranked Union and earning a series split against 12th-ranked Colgate, including a 7-6 overtime loss.

Keeping it close
With six ties on the year, it is no surprise that Niagara is a team that won't give up easily. Two of the Purple Eagles' five losses have come in overtime. Two of their other losses have been by just one goal, 4-3 to Holy Cross and a 1-0 loss against 13th-ranked Cornell. Niagara's only bad loss this season came at the hands of the Michigan Wolverines who thrashed the Purple Eagles by a score of 5-0 in early October.

Goaltender Options
The Purple Eagles have two young goalies who have seen significant minutes this season and have done an outstanding job. Sophomore Cody Campbell has played in six games, totaling over 350 minutes on the ice. He boasts an impressive .928 save percentage and just a 2.03 goals against average. Freshman Chris Noonan has put up similar numbers this year. Playing in four games, Noonan has a 9.38 save percentage and a 2.03 goals against.

Players to Watch
Sophomore-F-#10-Scott Arnold: Arnold is leading this Purple Eagles in scoring this season with seven goals and five assists for 12 points in 16 games. He also has 12 penalties on the year for 24 minutes, leading the team.

Senior-G-#33-Chris Noonan: While it is uncertain who will start in net for Niagara, Noonan has had the hot hand recently, starting the last three games, stopping 102 total shots while only allowing seven goals.


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