NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The potent Iona offense seems to be finding its stride as it used the Niagara Purple Eagles as a catalyst in a 3-1 road MAAC win. The Gaels made the most of nine shots in route to earning an important conference victory against a fellow competitor looking for a coveted playoff spot.
The scoring got going midway through the first half, junior Marcos Nunez and sophomore Daniel Huertas showed why they are one of the most dynamic attacking duos in the MAAC. The 2015 MAAC Offensive Player of the Year netted his fourth of the season by taking possession of a Huertas pass into the box. Nunez now sits just outside the program’s elite top 10 list with 40 career points.
The Purple Eagles had a 6-3 edge in first half shots, and 2-1 advantage in shots on goal. Senior Julian Petrello made two saves in the opening period.
The Gaels expanded their lead in the 61st minute. Senior Teddy Forson was the benefit of senior Oscar Gonzalez’s nifty play. The captain beat a defender in the box, then played it back to the forward who finished the one-timer opportunity for his second tally of the season.
The Purple Eagles got back in it with a goal from freshman Mbongeni Tshuma in the 76th minute. Petrello was beat by a nifty head pass from freshman midfielder Mackenzie Roach that fed Tshuma at the far right post.
The comeback efforts by the home team fell by the wayside in the 83rd minute when sophomore Daniel Ocana put the Maroon & Gold up 3-1. Huertas got his second assist of the game by beating and drawn double team and feeding it to Ocana who knocked it into an open net.
Iona has scored at least three goals in each of its conference wins this season, the first coming on Sept. 27 against Saint Peter’s, and the second at homecoming on Oct. 15.
Petrello made two saves on nine shots faced. The Gaels have now gone four straight games without allowing three goals.
Huertas had a team-high four shots and two assists. Nunez scored on one of his two chances. Forson had just one shot on goal and he made it count.
The Maroon & Gold are now 3-4 in the MAAC, with three games left to play. Iona hosts Monmouth at Mazzella Field on Wednesday, Oct. 26.