Four Atlantic Hockey teams are headed for showdowns in outdoor showcases the next couple of weeks.
First up, Niagara is in Rochester on Saturday night to take on RIT as part of the festivities at Frontier Field, the summer home of the Rochester Red Wings. The Red Wings are the AAA affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.
Two weeks later, Bentley and Holy Cross square off in a league game to kick off Frozen Fenway on Dec. 28 at Fenway Park. That event runs through Jan. 9.
Niagara players have had the Frontier game circled on their calendars for a while, said coach Dave Burkholder.
“First off, it’s an honor and we’re thrilled RIT asked us to be part of this great outside festival in the city of Rochester,” he said. “It’s going to be a great week and a fun night. I think it’s going to be, no pun intended, a home run for Frontier Field.”
Niagara sophomore forward Mike Conderman is especially looking forward to the game. He’s a native of Rochester and is in his first year at Niagara after transferring in from UMass-Lowell.
“I’ve been there to watch baseball games,” Conderman said. “That’s going to be pretty neat and unique. … It should be a lot of fun. I’m real excited for it.”
Niagara and RIT are coming into the game from different angles.
The Purple Eagles are still trying to find a spark to turn around a rough start to the season and would like nothing better than to pick up a win to close out the first half and savor over the Christmas break.
RIT is on a bit of a run now after its own tough start and wants a strong finish to the semester.
Niagara has struggled on special teams in particular. The Purple Eagles are averaging 2.47 goals a game and giving up 3.67. They have only five power play goals in 68 chances (7.4 percent) and opponents are at 19-for-74 (25.7).
Freshmen goalies Jackson Teichroeb and Adrian Ignani have split time down the middle and have pretty much matching statistics. Teichroeb has a goals against average of 3.55 and Ignani is at 3.41 and each has a save percentage of .890.
Conderman is one of three Purple Eagles with four goals, but no one has more than that.
Niagara is 0-7 in nonconference games and just under .500 at 3-4-1 in the league. The Purple Eagles have lost five straight.
RIT has won five straight. Freshman Mike Rotolo took over in net for the Tigers five games ago and has won all his starts with a 2.00 GAA and .935 save percentage.
RIT has 18 power play goals in 68 chances (26.5 percent) and the numbers are exactly split between non-league and league games (9-for-34). Opponents are 15-for-63 (23.8).
Niagara and RIT meet again in late January. They are at Niagara on Jan. 24 and at RIT the next night.
Player of the Week
Andrew Gladiuk, so., F. Bentley
Gladiuk had two goals and three assists to lead the Falcons to a 7-2 win over Robert Morris on Saturday night. He had an assist in Bentley’s 4-1 win on Friday
Games of the week
Bentley at Boston University, Saturday
The Falcons get their third and final shot at a Hockey East win this season. Bentley lost 2-1 at Maine on Oct. 19 and 3-1 at Merrimack on Nov. 21. Boston University has wins over Holy Cross (3-2) and UConn (4-1).
Atlantic Hockey Power Rankings