U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Jordan Himley scored with 1:13 left in the third as Air Force defeated RIT, 4-3, in an Atlantic Hockey Conference game, Friday, Nov. 11, at the Academy’s Cadet Ice Arena. Air Force led 3-0 early in the second, but RIT battled back to tie the game at 3-3 midway through the third.
Air Force jumped out to a 2-0 lead with two goals in the first period. Midway through the first period, the Falcons got on the board when Himley scored his first of the game. Matt Serratore worked to maintain control of the puck behind the net and then found Himley in the slot. Kyle Haak also assisted on the play. Late in the period, Serratore dumped a puck deep behind the RIT net and Haak won the race to the puck. Haak sent the puck out to the bottom of the circle where freshman Trevor Stone put it away for a 2-0 lead with 14.8 seconds left in the first.
Senior Tyler Rostenkowski scored at 3:02 of the second period for a 3-0 lead. Phil Boje and Evan Feno worked the puck up the wall and Rostenkowski netted his first of the season from the left circle on the rush. Just 43 seconds later, RIT answered as Todd Skirving scored on a rebound of Garrett McMullen’s shot.
RIT scored two goals in span of three minutes midway through the third to tie the game. On the power play, Brady Norrish fed his twin brother, Chase, who pounded home a one-timer from the right point at 6:35. After an Air Force turnover at its own blue line, Ryan Kruper scored with a wrister from the left circle on the breakaway at 9:58. Air Force had a power play late in the third and was unable to score. However, shortly after the power play ended, Haak created a turnover behind the RIT net and sent it out front. Himley came down the slot with speed and fired a wrister over the glove of Mike Rotolo for a 4-3 lead with 1:13 left. RIT pulled its goalie with 1:00 left and Starrett made three saves in the final 60 seconds to preserve the victory.
RIT outshot Air Force, 32-24, in the game, including a 24-12 margin over the final two periods. RIT was 1-for-5 on the power play while Air Force was 0-for-8. Starrett made 29 saves for the Falcons. Rotolo made 20 for the Tigers.
“We found a way to win this game, but could have easily found a way to lose it,” head coach Frank Serratore said, “We had a ton of unforced errors. That’s the bad news. The good news is we got it done at the end. We got off to a very good start and we never trailed in the game. But we have to clean some things up, be firmer with our sticks and do a better job of taking care of the puck.”
Air Force and RIT conclude the two-game league series on Saturday, Nov. 12, at 3:05 pm at the Academy’s Cadet Ice Arena.