Yes I know I can do better than this, but its late...
Last weeks sweep was huge, while UB was firing on all cylinders Robert Morris was tripping up, Their Collapse against Canton handed the ECHL auto bid to the ACHA championships. Buffalo and Robert Morris can still catch up to Canton but both would lose the tiebreaker.
The Colonials have now lost three straight in fact the last time they won is when they handled UB at the Pepsi Center. If the Bulls had managed to beat Robert Morris last season then they would be tied, still four points back is not a bad place for the Bulls to be sitting. This week UB has two league games one of which is absolutely huge.
Current ECHL Standings
UB travels to Niagara on Friday and will rumble down I90 to Syracuse the following day. While no team, even Syracuse, should not be overlooked a Friday win is the must have. Still if UB knocks off the Eagles and comes up short in Syracuse they lose a golden opportunity to put a stranglehold on a high seed.
Fri, 8:30 PM
Sat, 6:30 PM
Right now UB is only playing for seeding in the ECHL championships. Mercy Hurst is a team that has beaten Robert Morris, which jumped out to a three nil lead over the Bulls. Basically record aside they are a risk to anyone in the conference. Buffalo, NU, or Canton is going to have to play last years runner ups the others get a shot at Syracuse, RIT, and Rochester who are a very real step down in the level of play.
1) Who does UB have to watch out for?
Niagara: The Purple Eagles are very balanced with ten players having more than ten points the Bulls are going to need all of their lines to stand up the Eagles if they want to pull off this critical divisional game. Last time UB needed a shootout to put away the Eagles and in that game on just three goals seven Purps managed to end up on the score sheet.
Syracuse: Much like the Purps, Syracuse is a team that has multiple players who can hurt you. Alex Lichorat, Mike Dillane, and Chris Leykam are the teams leading scorers with 8, 8, and 7 goals respectively while Mike McConney,and Wes Rene lead the team in Assist.
2) How good are their goalies?
Niagara: The goal tending for Niagara is probably on par with Buffalo's net minders. Dane Wakefield is typically the starter but he had been bothered by a knee injury through December and early January he played a solid game against Buffalo earlier this month giving up just three goals on 36 shots and his play of late has been at that level.
Syracuse: Rich Carlston is an effective goal tender his GA is respectable but of late he has only been facing 25 to 30 shots a game. SU's problems are more based on the offensive woes than anything going on between the pipes.
3) How are they on the Power play?
Niagara: The eagles have been riding a pretty hot streak on the power play, as a team they are seven for 35 (25%) over their last five games. For the most part the scoring has been spread around with the exception of Nick Gollaher who's three power play goals in one period sunk Robert Morris last week.
Syracuse: Powerplay goals have not been easy to come by for Syracuse, the Orange are netting a goal just 10% of the time over their last five games. Alex Lichorat is the teams season leader with three goals on the power play this season.
4) How are they Short Handed?
Niagara: Has held their opponents to just 10% over the past five games, surrendering just two goals to Robert Morris. The last time they played Buffalo UB's three power play goals was the major factor in Buffalo coming out on top.
Syracuse: The Orange are giving up goals about 20% of the time (over their last four games), but they do a decent enough job at staying out of the box for their shorthanded vulnerability to be the deciding factor in too many games.
5) What to expect form the game?
Niagara: Niagara has managed to stay out of the box very well in January, unless that changes Buffalo will not be able to sink them with power play goals. Assuming that Rich Latona continues his solid play UB has a very good chance in this game but they need to take advantage of the power play opportunities they are given, NU out played the Bulls at even strength last time.
Syracuse: The Orange should be over matched in this game, but it is on the back end of a long streak of road games. The only thing that really concerns me is that US has been very good, of late, at keeping other teams well below thirty shots.