Cooley’s Highlight-Reel Goals Help Niagara Tie RIT, Earn Bonus Point
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Niagara men’s hockey team earned its first conference points of the 2019-20 season following a 2-2 tie at RIT. The Purple Eagles got goals from Ludwig Stenlund and Eric Cooley in regulation. After five minutes of overtime, Niagara played into its first-ever Atlantic Hockey double overtime period, where Cooley scored again to steal an extra point in the standings.
• After the Tigers were called for the first penalty of the game, Stenlund made them pay just 14 seconds into Niagara’s man-advantage. The sophomore muscled a shot through from the right faceoff dot to put the Purple Eagles up 4:35 into the game.
• RIT found itself with a partial breakaway chance just a few minutes later, but Jared Brandt hustled back and got in position to pry the puck off the stick and give Chad Veltri an easy opportunity to pass the puck to his forwards.
• With the Tigers whacking away at a loose puck in front of the Niagara net, Veltri kept cool and was able to get his body in front of the puck to keep it out. With the help of the left post, the Purple Eagles cleared the puck and neutralized the chance.
• Late in the first, a giveaway by Niagara at the side of its own net gave RIT a quick look and a shot, but Veltri was on his toes and jammed his skate to the post to seal off the goal and keep the Tigers off the board.
• Midway through the second, Cooley started a furious attack for the Purple Eagles when he brought the puck in close from behind the RIT net. His attempt slipped through the crease and onto Stenlund’s stick, but Stenlund was unable to get a clean shot away. The Puck the bounced to Chris Harpur, but his attempt was blocked before reaching the goalie. Stenlund had another long look but RIT’s Logan Drackett caught the puck and held on for a faceoff.
• With Ryan Cox camped out behind the RIT net, the sophomore gave Ryan Cook a brilliant one-time chance, but the shot was saved and held for a faceoff.
• On the power play late in the middle frame, Reed Robinson had a wide-open net with Drackett on his stomach well off the crease, but the puck went wide and into the glass.
• After RIT scored to take a 2-1 lead in the third, Niagara responded less than two minutes later to tie the game again. Luke Edgerton skated down the left flank and put the puck in front for Cooley, who did a 180 and put the puck in with this back to the net.
• Veltri stonewalled RIT on a long possession for the Tigers, with his second and toughest save coming on a pass in front that forced him to go post-to-post to grab the puck.
• With less than a minute to play in the third, RIT once again had the puck in deep for an extended time, but Veltri came up huge and rejected two more quality shots to send the game into overtime.
• Serving a penalty for too many men, Niagara started its first-ever “bonus point” overtime period down a man in a 4-on-3. The Purple Eagles successfully killed it off, with Veltri making severak saves to stifle the onslaught of RIT chances.
• With 39 seconds left in the second overtime, Cooley scored again and lifted an off-balance, one-handed shot attempt over the shoulder of Drackett to earn the extra point in jaw-dropping fashion.
• Head coach Jason Lammers: “It was awesome. I told the guys I was proud of the way they hung in there.”
• “I’m really happy for Chad in net. Our defense was good. Chris Harpur in particular played really well, and it was really cool to see Eric Cooley break out in this one.”
Beyond The Boxscore
• Stenlund’s goal gave him nine points (5 G, 4 A) in six career games against the Tigers.
• Per NCAA rules, Cooley’s strike in the second overtime counts to give the Purple Eagles the extra point in the Atlantic Hockey standings, but it will not count towards his individual total.