Niagara comes back for 6-2 win
NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- Niagara scored six unanswered goals for a come-from-behind 6-2 win over Air Force in a College Hockey America game Saturday, Feb. 11, at Dwyer Arena in Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Air Force fell to 6-17-1 overall and 4-10 in the CHA. Niagara is now 14-13-1 overall and 8-5-1 in the CHA. The teams split the series as Air Force won the first game on Friday, 3-2.
Two power-play goals in the first period gave the Falcons a 2-0 lead at the first intermission. Midway through the first period, Andrew Ramsey drew two penalties that gave the Falcons 1:29 of 5-on-3 power play. Air Force quickly capitalized with a flurry in front of the net. Michael Mayra made a pass to Andrew Ramsey down low whose shot was saved by Jeff VanNynatten. Brian Reese put back a rebound at the 6:50 mark of the first period for a 1-0 lead. On the ensuing 5-on-4 power play, Reese scored his second of the game, his third of the series and his fifth of the season at the 7:13 mark. Josh Schaffer fed Brian Gineo at the point center. Gineo fired a shot that was redirected by Reese in front of the net and beat VanNynatten. Niagara out-shot Air Force, 11-7, in the period, but Falcon goalie Ian Harper made all 11 stops.
Niagara responded with three goals in the second period to take a 3-2 lead. Two of the goals came on the power play as the Purple Eagles had five power plays in the second period. Kyle Rogers scored first with an even-strength goal at the 6:05 mark with a wrister from the left dot. Niagara tied the game at the 15:19 mark when Ted Cook scored on the power play. Justin Cross made a cross ice pass to the bottom of the left circle and Cook scored his 16th of the season. With 1:47 remaining, the Purple Eagles took a 3-2 lead. Sean Bentivoglio picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and skated in uncontested on Harper. On the power play, Bentivoglio faked left and then slid the puck past Harper to the lower right corner.
The Purple Eagles took a 4-2 lead with a power-play goal at the 4:48 mark of the third period. Matt Caruana's shot from the bottom of the right circle beat Harper. The Falcons again spent most of the third period killing penalties. Once back to even-strength, the Falcons pulled Harper from the net with 3:42 remaining. Just under a minute later, Niagara added an empty-net goal as Marc Norrington slid one in just inside the blue line. After a skirmish broke out on the ice with 1:28 remaining, the Purple Eagles added a short-handed breakaway goal by Tim Madsen
Niagara out-shot Air Force, 38-24, in the game. The Purple Eagles were 3-for-12 on the power play while Air Force was 2-for-6. Harper made a season-high 32 saves for the Falcons while VanNynatten made 22 for Niagara.
"It was kind of a dysfunctional because of all the penalties," head coach Frank Serratore said. "It was a special teams kind of game and Niagara took advantage of that. Niagara was better at special teams and goaltending tonight. We were better last night and they were better tonight. We had an opportunity to win the third period and we simply didn't get it done."
Air Force plays a single, non-conference game Monday, Feb. 13, against RIT in Rochester, N.Y. The Falcons then return home to face league-leading Alabama-Huntsville, Friday-Saturday, Feb. 17-18, at the Cadet Ice Arena.