Air Force falls to Niagara, 4-3; Game 3 Sunday night at Cadet Ice Arena
March 15, 2014
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo.- Hugo Turcotte scored two goals to lead Niagara to a 4-3 win over Air Force in game two of the Atlantic Hockey Association best-of-three quarterfinal series, Saturday, March 15, at the Academy's Cadet Ice Arena. Air Force won game one, 2-1, on Friday, so the teams will play a deciding game three Sunday, March 16, at 7:05 pm MT at the Cadet Ice Arena.
Niagara opened the scoring midway through the first period on Turcotte's 10th of the season. Defenseman Kevin Ryan took a shot from the left point that was headed wide of the far post. However, the puck hit the skate of Turcotte and went in at 13:43.
The Purple Eagles took a 2-0 lead early in the second period. Turcotte won a faceoff in the offensive zone and Matt Williams' slap shot from the point was blocked. The puck bounced to his defensive partner, Vince Muto, who fired a shot from the right point that got past Jason Torf at the 2:43 mark. The Falcons roared back to tie the game. Chad Demers put the Falcons on the board at 4:14 when his shot hit the cross bar and then bounced off the back of goaltender Jackson Teichroeb and into the net. Scott Holm and Cole Gunner assisted on the goal. Later in the period, Air Force tied the game on the odd-man rush. George Michalke III took a shot from the right wing that was tipped in front by Tony Thomas. Ben Carey cleaned up the rebound for his seventh of the season at 12:25. The Purple Eagles regained the lead at 14:43 on Turcotte's second of the game. Dan Kolenda skated the puck off the wall and sent a no-look pass to Turcotte on the back door for a 3-2 lead.
Early in the third period, Niagara capitalized on an Air Force turnover in its own end as Patrick Conte scored unassisted with a slap shot from the left circle at 1:44. Just after a Falcon power play ended, Air Force cut the Niagara lead to 4-3 on the rush. George Michalke III fed Ryan Timar who was coming down the left side and Timar netted his sixth of the season. Mitch Torrel also assisted on the play. In the final 62 seconds, Niagara was on the power play and Air Force pulled its goalie for the extra skater. The Falcons had several flurries in front, but was unable to get the equalizer.
Niagara outshot Air Force, 33-26, in the game. Torf made 29 saves for the Falcons while Jackson Teichroeb made 23 for the Purple Eagles. AFA was 0-for-3 on the power play while Niagara was 0-for-2.
"It is never easy when you play Niagara," head coach Frank Serratore said. "They came at us and they were relentless and physical. The better team won tonight. We better come out tomorrow with more urgency or our season will come to a screeching halt."