Niagara beats Air Force, 5-4 in overtime
Feb. 12, 2011
USAFA, Colo. - Niagara's Ryan Rashid scored a goal at 2:54 of overtime to lift the Purple Eagles to a 5-4 overtime win over Air Force in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Saturday, Feb. 12, at a sold out Cadet Ice Arena at the Air Force Academy. With the two points tonight, Niagara jumped back ahead of Air Force in the AHA standings. Niagara improved to 16-11-3 overall and 13-9-1 and in a tie for third place. Air Force fell to 12-11-6 overall and 10-7-6 and in fifth place in the AHA.
In the first minute of the game, Ryan Timar drew a tripping penalty and the Falcons capitalized 11 seconds later. Jacques Lamoureux scored his 15th of the season 52 seconds into the first period. Derrick Burnett made a pass down low to Kyle DeLaurell who found Lamoureux in the slot. Lamoureux went high, glove side for the first goal of the game. The goal was Lamoureux's 55th career goal in Atlantic Hockey games to tie the league record set by Army's Owen Meyer (2006-10). Niagara came back to tie the game at the 6:22 mark. Jeff Hannan forced a turnover behind the Falcon net and passed to Paul Zanette in the right circle. Zanette sent a backhand to the weak side where Bryan Haczyk was wide open for his second of the series and 24th of the season.
Air Force regained the lead at 6:04 of the second period on the power play. Burnett gave the puck to DeLaurell on the left side and the sophomore winger skated into the circle and zipped a wrister high, glove side for his seventh of the season. Niagara then scored two goals in a span of 1:42 for a 3-2 lead. Haczyk scored a 5-on-3 goal from Paul Zanette at 9:50. Then, just after the balance of the 5-on-4 power play ended, the Purple Eagles took their first lead of the series. Air Force tried to clear the puck, but it was knocked down at the blue line by Derek Foam. Foam gave it down low to Paul Zanette who sent the puck to the top of the crease. The puck hit Falcon defenseman Scott Mathis and went in for a 3-2 NU lead at 11:32. The lead lasted just 12 seconds as DeLaurell scored his second of the game. Right off of the ensuing faceoff, Burnett chased a puck into the corner and through it out front to DeLaurell. His second of the game and eighth of the season tied the game at 3-3. With 3:01 left in the second period, Tim Kirby picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and skated around a defenseman in the neutral zone. His wrister from the left circle beat Cody Campbell, high, glove side to a 4-3 Falcon lead. After the goal, Campbell was replaced in goal by Chris Noonan.
Niagara tied the game early in the third period on Haczyk's third of the night. Ryan Annesley passed to Haczyk in the neutral zone and he skated in 1-on-1 with a Falcon defenseman. The Niagara senior flipped a wrister past Jason Torf from low on the left side. The game remained tied and the two teams went into overtime, each for the ninth time this season. In overtime, Air Force had the puck in the Niagara end for most of the first two minutes and took a shot that was saved. Niagara's Matt Williams passed down low to Patrick Divjak who went cross ice to Rashid. His one-timer from the top of the left circle went through the five hole for the game winner.
Air Force outshot Niagara, 35-30, in the game. AFA was 2-for-5 on the power play while Niagara was 1-for-5. Torf made 25 saves in the game for Air Force. Campbell started the game for Niagara and allowed four goals on 15 shots in 37 minutes. Noonan came on in relief and played the final 28 minutes, stopping all 20 shots he faced.
"One team got it done tonight and one didn't," head coach Frank Serratore said. "No excuses, we just didn't get it done. They were the better team tonight. When you have a 4-3 lead going into the third period at home, that is right where you want to be. And we didn't hold the lead. My hats off to Niagara. Their backs were to the wall and they fought back. They won the third period, won overtime and won the game."
Air Force travels to Erie, Pa., for a two-game series with the Mercyhurst Lakers, Friday-Saturday, Feb. 18-19, at 7:05 ET each night. Mercyhurst is two points behind Air Force in the standings. Earlier this season, Mercyhurst beat Air Force, 6-2, at the Cadet Ice Arena on Nov. 5.