U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – Freshmen defenseman combined for two goals and two assists as Air Force defeated Mercyhurst, 5-1, in an Atlantic Hockey Conference game Saturday, Jan. 6, at the Cadet Ice Arena.
Air Force (9-10-3, 4-8-2 AHC) drew first blood early in the game as Trevor Stone scored his second of the season. Freshman defenseman Jake Levin forced a turnover in the neutral zone and Trevor Stone tipped in Levin’s centering pass at 3:47.
Mercyhurst (8-10-2, 5-7-2 AHC) tied the game early in the second period on the rush. Les Lancaster’s shot was saved, but Jack Riley put back the rebound 42 seconds into the period. The Falcons then scored two goals in a span of 51 seconds for a 3-1 lead. Pierce Pluemer scored his second of the season, even strength, at 4:15. Levin’s shot from the right point was saved and Pluemer put back the rebound. After Ben Kucera drew a penalty, the Falcons capitalized for a 3-1 lead. Freshman Alex Mehnert scored his first career goal with a shot from the center point at 5:06. Tyler Ledford and Erik Baskin assisted. With 19 seconds left in the second period, freshman defenseman Zack Mirageas scored from the right point from Kyle Mackey and Erich Jaeger for a 4-1 lead.
Late in the third period, the Lakers pulled their goalie for the extra attacker. The Falcons sealed the win as Evan Giesler scored an empty-netter with 1:52 remaining.
Air Force outshot Mercyhurst, 29-27. The Falcons were 1-for-4 on the power play while Mercyhurst was 0-for-3. Billy Christopoulos made 26 saves for the Falcons. Brandon Wildung started for Mercyhurst and made 19 saves, while allowing four goals in 40 minutes. Colin DeAugustine played the third period and stopped all five shots he faced.
“The better team won tonight,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “We did a better job of getting bodies in the paint and we got bounces tonight that we didn’t get last night. I hate to say this in early January, but this was somewhat of a must-win for us. We had to get something out of this series. We had some key guys out of the lineup tonight, and we had a lot of guys step up.”
Air Force travels to RIT for a two-game league series, Jan. 12-13, in Rochester, N.Y.