PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Billy Christopoulos stopped all 29 shots he faced and Erik Baskin netted the game-winner in a 1-0 victory over Robert Morris in an Atlantic Hockey Conference game, Friday, Feb. 23, at Colonials Arena in Pittsburgh, Pa. With the win, Air Force clinched a first-round bye in the Atlantic Hockey playoffs. The Falcons can finish as high as third, but no lower than fifth.
In the first five minutes of the game, Baskin gave the Falcons an early lead on a 3-on-2 rush. Zack Mirages gained the zone down the left wing and set up Baskin who skated down the slot at 4:03. In the final seconds of the first period, a major penalty and game misconduct was called on Mirageas.
Air Force killed the penalty, while allowing just two shots on goal. Just after the penalty expired, RMU’s Timmy Moore was called for a major for spearing. The Colonials killed the power play, allowing one shot. Christopoulos made three saves as RMU had two short-handed breakaways.
Early in the third period, the Colonials had three more breakaways, two of which were short-handed. Christopoulos stopped RMU’s two leading scorers, Brady Ferguson and Luke Lynch on short-handed breakaways and then stopped Micheal Lauria with an even-strength chance.
With 1:20 left in the third, RMU pulled its goalie for the extra attacker. The Colonials had four shots on goal and the Falcon defensemen blocked two. In the final seconds, Colonial Spencer Dorowitz had some open net on the back door, but hit the post once and then slid the puck through the crease and wide of the open net as time expired.
Robert Morris outshot Air Force, 29-23. Air Force was 0-for-5 on the power play while RMU was 0-for-3. RMU goalie Francis Marotte made 22 saves.
“We weren’t very good tonight,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “The only thing we did right is win. Billy was terrific for us again. We gave up way too many breakaways and we took some bad penalties. We were lucky tonight. I need to go buy a power-ball ticket. We have to play better tomorrow. We can’t take this performance into the playoffs.”
The same two teams conclude the two-game series, and the regular-season, on Saturday, Feb. 24, at 7:05 pm ET in Pittsburgh, Pa.