U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - Erik Baskin's power-play goal in third period lifted Air Force to a 4-3 win over RIT in an Atlantic Hockey Conference game Friday, Nov. 17, at the Academy's Cadet Ice Arena.
On the first shift of the game, the Falcons (6-5-2 overall and 2-4-1 AHC) had two quality scoring chances and had a 4-1 shot advantage after the first five minutes. However, over the next 10 minutes, RIT outshot Air Force, 8-1. During that stretch, the Tigers had a 3-on-2 and Liam Kerins scored on a rebound of Mark Logan's shot at 11:31. With under five minutes left in the period, Evan Giesler drew a penalty and the Falcons went on the power play. On the ensuing faceoff, Matt Pulver won the draw and Phil Boje slid the puck to Alex Mehnert at the left point. Mehnert found Jordan Himley wide open on the back door and Himley netted his third of the season to tie the game at 14:26.
On the first shift of the period, RIT scored for a 2-1 lead. Erik Brown's shot from the top of the left circle was redirected in front by Gabe Valenzuela 40 seconds into the second period. The Falcons answered just over two minutes later. Matt Koch intercepted a pass in the neutral zone and handed off to Joe Tyran. The sophomore's blast from the center point was his first career goal, tying the game at 2-2 at 3:11. Midway through the period, the Falcons appeared to take a 3-2 lead on Marshall Bowery's goal at 11:04. However, the game was disallowed due to contact with the goaltender. Just 19 seconds later, the Falcons did take a 3-2 lead. Jake Levin chipped the puck high off the glass and Matt Serratore collected it in the neutral zone. Serratore carried the puck in down the left wing and found Evan Giesler coming in with speed. Giesler's second of the season put the Falcons up a goal at 11:23.
The Tigers (5-4-1 overall, 5-2-0 AHC) tied the game on the power play in the third period. Erik Brown was wide open on the back door and Myles Powell found him at 9:01. Just a few minutes later, Matt Pulver drew a penalty that led to a Falcon power play. Mehnert's shot from the point was re-directed in front by Baskin for a 4-3 lead at 11:23. RIT pulled its goalie with 56 seconds left and had the puck in the zone the entire time, but were unable to tie the game.
Air Force outshot RIT, 28-27, in the game. The Falcons were 2-for-4 on the power play while RIT was 1-for-2. Billy Christopoulos and Logan Drackett each made 24 saves.
"We out-worked them and Billy (Christopoulos) was better than their goalie," head coach Frank Serratore said. "I really liked our compete level. We have to out-work them because we can't out-experience them. We weathered the storm in the first period as they had some shots. They are a good team. There is a reason they were 5-1 in the league."
Air Force and RIT conclude the two-game series on Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Cadet Ice Arena.