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CHA Men's hockey Tournament: Niagara, Alabama-Huntsville tie in third-place game

Alabama-Huntsville's Neil Ruffini (left) charges in to steal a puck from Niagara's Derek Foam (right) during the second period of Saturday afternoon's third place game at John Glas Fieldhouse. Pioneer Photo/Eric Stromgren

The College Hockey America Tournament third-place game settled nothing Saturday afternoon, as Alabama-Huntsville (5-20-5) and Niagara University (16-14-6) skated to a 1-1 overtime tie at the John Glas Fieldhouse.

All the scoring happened in the first period. The Chargers Kevin Morrison got UAH on the board first, connecting at 3:07 with assists to Chris Fairbanks and Scott Kalinchuck

Niagara responded just over six minutes later. Dan Sullivan scored past UAH goalie Blake MacNicol with assists to Wes Consorti and Brian Dowd.

From there, strong team defense and stellar goaltending took over in the well played game.

While there was little scoring there was plenty of offense as the two teams combined for a total of 86 shots. McNicol ended with 38 saves on 39 Niagara shots, while Niagara goalie Adam Avramenko ended with 46 saves on 47 shots from the Chargers.

"Well, there weren't a lot of goals, but there were a lot of chances for both teams which made it really exciting," said UAH coach Danton Cole. "I know in talking with Niagara coach Dave Burkholder after the game we both said it was a good up and down hockey game with good sportsmanship from both sides.

"It's tough to come back after losing the night before and knowing that this is the end of the season, whether you win or lose."

Cole was high in his praise for the play of the junior goaltender MacNicol. "He played well and battled the whole game," Cole reported. "He made some really big saves for us and that's tough since he hasn't played a ton for us this year. We wanted him to play today so he could go into the summer having a good finish and put a little zip into him."

Burkholder said he was initially surprised at the intensity showed by the Chargers, considering it was a third place game. "It was a lot more competitive going in," Burkholder said. "I thought they woke us up early by finishing their checks. We responded to their energy level, and it ended up being a very good college hockey game - compared to what we showed yesterday."

It was difficult for the players to get excited about the game because of the disappointing loss in the tournament opener. "In a situation like this not a lot guys felt really good suiting up (Saturday). Obviously, the toughest part of the game is playing defense. Overall it was a good effort," Burkholder said.

UAH 1 0 0 0 - 0

NU 1 0 0 0 - 0

First Period - 1, UAH, Kevin Morrison (Chris Fairbanks, Scott Kalinchuk), 3:07. 2, NU, Dan Sullivan (Wes Consorti, Brian Dowd), 9:20. Penalties - none.

Second Period - no scoring. Penalties - Brandon Roshko, UAH (slashing), 6:07, Jim Burichin, NU (hooking), 7:55, Brennan Barker, UAH (tripping), 19:17

Third Period - no scoring. Penalties - Burichin, NU (hooking), 10:32, Andrew Coburn, UAH (slashing), 12:10, Matt Sweazey, UAH (tripping), 14:35

Overtime - no scoring. Penalties -- none

Shots - UAH 19-12-13-3 47, NU 12-11-12-4 39

Saves - UAH-Blake MacNicol (39 shots-38 saves), NU-Adam Avramenko (47 shots-46 saves)

Power Play - UAH 0 for 2, NU 0 for 4

Referees - Mike Baker, Chris Foote, assistant referees - Derek Sylvester, Steve Shufelt

A -- 850