NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, NY—In Western New York there is a rivalry like no other. That is the rivalry between Niagara and Canisius. Before this season, Niagara hadn’t fared well against the Golden Griffins going 1-15-1 in the last four seasons before the 2018-19 season. However, this season when the two Atlantic Hockey rivals matched up for their first two games of their season series, it was the Purple Eagles that took control by winning both games; 5-2 and 9-6 in both games.
If there is one person who is in the Purple Eagle hockey program that has passion it is Coach Lammers. During my short sit down with the second-year head coach, you could tell he bleeds the purple and grey, only referring to Canisius as “the team south of the bridge”.
“It’s the team south of the bridge and we don’t like to call them by name, so we don’t call them by name and it’s a big deal for the community, it’s a big deal for the university, it’s a big deal for our players, so its something we put a lot pride and a lot effort into, they’re hard fought games,” Lammers said.
When asked about how the seniors have helped the younger players embrace this rivalry, Head Coach Jason Lammers spoke on how he lets the players make a point of it.
“We let them [the players] speak on it, we let them talk about the ups and downs they’ve been through,” Lammers said. “For example, last time they made a great point, that they haven’t beat the team south of the bridge…so we let them talk and let the passion come through.”
As the 2018-19 regular season is starting to wind down every game is important. However, this series against the team south of the bridge comes at a great point in the season. If Niagara can take two games from the Griffs it would give them a huge momentum boost going into their season finale against RIT and help them going into the first round of Atlantic Hockey post season play. Niagara’s home portion against the team south of the bridge is Feb. 23 on 7 p.m.