October 18, 2006
Niagara Freshman Moran Flying High

By Warren Kozireski

Niagara has begun the season having the most success in non-conference games with a 4-3 win at St. Lawrence and a 5-4 overtime win in their home opener against 2006 NCAA tournament participant Holy Cross. And they’re trying to make it two in a row in the CHA Rookie of the Year department with forward Chris Moran lapping the field at this early stage with five points in four games.

CHA Notebook

Niagara's Chris Moran is making an early bid for CHA Rookie of the Year honors. Playing on a line with the league's 2006 co-ROY's – Ted Cook and Les Reaney – certainly helps.

National TV Schedule

Moran is playing on a line with last year’s co-Rookies of the year Ted Cook and Les Reaney and is manning the point on the power play.

“I’ve been really happy with Chris Moran. I thought he was one of our best players on the ice against Colgate with seven shots on goal and we have him playing the point on the power play which shows you how much confidence the coaching staff has in him,” said head coach Dave Burkholder.

“It’s good to start the year with two guys like Cook and Reaney who came in and dominated last year,” said the freshman. “I played the point all through juniors, so that’s been a pretty easy transition from playing in the USHL last year [with the Omaha Lancers.]"

Moran committed to the Purple Eagles almost a year and a half ago, but waited a year to begin his collegiate career. “I needed to develop more size and skill and going to the USHL made the transition of coming to the speed of the college game easier.”

Against Holy Cross, Niagara rallied from 3-0 and 4-1 deficits by scoring with eight seconds remaining in the second period, getting two goals less than one minute apart in the third and winning in overtime on Vince Rocco’s second of the game.

“I was just in the right spot at the right time,” said Rocco. “I guess I just had magnet on my stick, the puck bounced lose and showed some patience and had the whole net to shoot at. That could be the turning point of our season. After that first period, no one in the locker room thought we were out of it.”


October + Western New York = Winter: Following its game against Colgate, which was held at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, Niagara was caught in the middle of an early fall snow and ice storm on the way back to campus – the one that dropped two feet of snow in the Buffalo area.

That storm, which paralyzed much of western New York, closed the New York State Thruway, which happens to be the direct route back to campus for the Purple Eagles from Rochester. The team bus was caught not quite halfway home when the road was closed, and the normal 90-minute trip became a 14-hour odyssey as they idled on the expressway waited for it to reopen.

“It was one of the most miserable nights of my life, but it was good for team bonding,” said Moran. “We didn’t have any movies – just ourselves and our humor … rock, paper, scissors.”


Great Weekend Getaway
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Wayne State at Alabama-Huntsville (Fri.-Sat.)
The two teams kick off the CHA conference schedule in search of their first wins of the season. The Chargers took the 2005-05 season series 3-0-1.

While You’re There: Stretch out those hammies for the Liz Hurley Ribbon Run, a 5k starting at 8 a.m. Saturday on Franklin Street. Too early or too strenuous (or both)? Watch the Halloween Parade Around the Square at 10 a.m.

Stick Salute

To instant replay: Through four games, Niagara’s 2005-06 co-CHA Rookies of the Year, Ted Cook and Les Reaney, were again among the leaders in the nation in scoring. Cook was leading the country with three goals and five assists while Reaney had three of each – good for a tie for fifth.

Bench Minor

Ouch: Wayne State senior defensemen Taylor Donahoe and Dan Iliakis were a collective -8 in two losses at Minnesota. That obviously doesn’t include one or both being on the ice for three Gopher power play tallies in 7-1 and 5-1 defeats at Mariucci Arena.

• Bemidji State’s Luke Erickson started Friday’s game at Maine at right wing on the second line. After scoring a power-play goal in a 7-1 loss that night, he was moved to left wing on the first line and scored two power-play goals in a 6-3 loss Saturday.

• Several of the Beavers lost their luggage and equipment – well, the airline did the actual losing of the stuff – on their way to Orono last weekend. Could be a partial reason for the Black Bears taking a 3-0 lead after one period Friday and 4-0 edge before Erickson found the net for the only Beaver tally.

• Alabama-Huntsville almost wasted a 3-0 lead before getting third-period goals from Steve Canter and freshman Thomas Train to hang on to a 5-5 tie at Bowling Green Sunday.

• Wayne State freshman goaltender Brett Bothwell allowed five goals, but just two at even strength in a 5-1 loss at seventh-ranked Minnesota Saturday.

• In its games at Quinnipiac last weekend, Robert Morris scored its only goal of the contest in the third period after spotting the host team 3-0 and 4-0 leads.

• After not allowing Holy Cross to score in the only two previous meetings between the teams, the Crusaders scored on Niagara just 2:53 into the third game and then twice more before the Purple Eagles found their offense (and defense).

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report