U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - Air Force scored three goals in a span of 84 seconds in the third period to come from behind for a 3-3 overtime tie against AIC in an Atlantic Hockey Conference game Saturday, Feb. 11, at the Academy's Cadet Ice Arena. Air Force took three points in the series and is in second place in Atlantic Hockey, one point behind Canisius. With the tie, Air Force has clinched a first-round bye and home ice in the AHC quarterfinals.
After a scoreless first period, AIC (7-18-7 overall and 6-14-6 AHC) struck first with a power-play goal in the second. Dominik Florian's shot was saved but Hugo Reinhardt puck back the rebound at 6:46 for a 1-0 lead.
The Yellow Jackets scored two in the third for a 3-0 lead. After Kyle Mackey's wrap-around shot was saved, Joel Kocur collected the loose puck out of a pile of players and skated coast-to-coast. His wrister from the top of the left circle gave the visitors a 2-0 lead. Then with 4:24 left, Austin Orszulak came in on the rush and scored from low on the left circle for a 3-0 lead. After the goal, Billy Christopoulos came in to relief Shane Starrett.
The Falcons (19-8-5 overall and 16-5-3 AHC) then came to life. With the extra skater on, Ben Kucera's shot was saved but A.J. Reid put back the rebound for his ninth goal of the season at 15:57. Air Force then went on the power play and capitalized. Matt Koch fired a shot from the point that snuck through a screen by Erik Baskin and cut the AIC lead to 3-2 at 16:36. After the goal, Starrett came back in the net for Air Force, replacing Christopoulos. The Falcons were buzzing again and Reid drew a penalty, putting the Falcons on the power play. With Baskin again screening in front, Phil Boje's blast from the point found the twine and the Falcons tied the game at 3-3 at 17:23. In the final minute of the game, Air Force had several flurries in front, with two pucks sliding just wide of the net, and nearly netted the game-winner. In overtime, Air Force outshot AIC, 4-0, but was not able to break the tie.
Air Force outshot AIC, 29-23 in the game, including 14 shots in the third period and overtime. Air Force was 2-for-6 on the power play while AIC was 1-for-3. Starrett made 20 stops for Air Force while Zackarias Skog made 26 for AIC.
"We were on death's door, but we weren't dead," head coach Frank Serratore said. "Give AIC credit, they were a difficult team to play against. Their power play got them the lead and then they played a good defensive game. AIC will soon be a contender in this league. They are well-coached. They have skill and they compete. But proud of our guys. Not many teams can come from three goals down in the final four minutes to get a point. We didn't get too many open looks tonight. But when the chips were down, we found a way to salvage a point."
Air Force travels to Rochester, N.Y., for a two-game series against the RIT Tigers, Friday-Saturday, Feb. 17-18, at 7:05 pm ET each night.