NIAGARA UNIV., N.Y. - The Niagara men's soccer team battled the Rider Broncs to a scoreless draw on Sunday afternoon at Niagara Field to extend its unbeaten streak to 11 games.
For the fifth time this season, the Purple Eagles (7-0-4; 1-0-1 MAAC) battled their opponent into extra time, this time they were unable to find the game-winning tally.
Niagara held a 6-1 advantage in shots during overtime, including an immediate scoring opportunity in the opening minute as a diving header by defender Ben Thorne flew just past the right post. NU keeper Brett Petricek made several key saves in the initial 10 minutes to keep the score level heading into the second overtime.
"The guys worked hard today," head coach Chase Brooks said. "They connected a lot of passes and took a lot of shots, but in the end of the day it's about putting the ball in the back of the net. That's where we struggled today. It wasn't clicking for us in the final third."
In the opening 45 minutes of play neither team could get on the scoreboard. Niagara applied the pressure on the Broncs (2-8-1; 1-0-1 MAAC), having a seven to three advantage in shots, with four of those opportunities on target. The Purple Eagles also had seven cornerkick opportunities compared to one Rider cornerkick.
The second half saw much of the same as NU kept senior keeper Matt Perrella busy with the team's 11 shots. Junior Ken Cooper had the best opportunity for the Purple Eagles with less then five minutes remaining in the contest. Midfielder Jacob Ohlin fed a through pass to Cooper down the right side, and Cooper's high-rising shot grazed off the top post.
"We have to regroup now," Brooks added. "We need to focus on a few things that we need to take care of and be ready for Canisius next Saturday night. The Canisius game is going to be a big one. It's a huge rivalry and to go into Canisius at their place, there's a lot of pressure for them to win at home. We're looking forward to it."
Petricek wrapped up the game with three saves, while forward Bryan Da Cruz led the Purple Eagles with five shots.
Niagara plays in its Battle of the Bridge contest on Saturday, Oct. 13 when it travels to Buffalo, N.Y. to take on Canisius at 7 p.m.