by Amy Moritz
Just when it looked like Niagara had turned the corner to make a late-season run in Atlantic Hockey, well, Friday night happens.
The Purple Eagles lost in the final second to Sacred Heart, 4-3, in Milford, Conn.
The momentum from last weekend's sweep of RIT was gone in the first six minutes. Sacred Heart scored twice 30 seconds apart and starter Adrian Ignagni was pulled after just 5:58 of game time.
Niagara tied the game, 2-2, on goals from Tyelr Akeson and a power play tally from Vince Muto, but just 1:03 after Muto's goal, Sacred Heart again pulled ahead, 3-2.
Ryan Rashid tied the game for Niagara midway though the third.
Then came the dealbreaker.
Niagara's Stephen Pietrobon was called for boarding with 1:34 left in regulation. The Pioneers threw six shots on Jackosn Teichroeb on that power play. Then with three seconds left, Brian Sheehan won the faceoff and drew it back to Mitch Nylen who fired a shot over Teichroeb's glove with 0.9 seconds left.
With the loss, Niagara fell to 7-8-3 in conference play. They play Sacred Heart again at 7 p.m. Saturday.
With 17 points, the Purps are in seventh place in Atlantic Hockey, just one point in front of RIT for that final spot for home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.