Falcons Fall Short in Overtime Loss to #4 Denver
March 26, 2013
DENVER, Colo. - After a 10-day layoff, the Air Force lacrosse team returned to action with an overtime thriller at fourth-ranked conference foe Denver, dropping an 11-10 contest to the Pioneers. With the loss, the Falcons fall to 4-5 on the season and 0-3 in the ECAC, while Denver moves to 6-2 on the year and 2-0 in the conference.
Junior captain Mike Crampton (Kinnelon, N.J.) tallied his fourth hat trick of the year to lead Air Force, while Christopher Allen (Fr., Hillsborough, N.J.) added two goals and an assist for the Falcons. Meanwhile, Wesley Berg scored six goals for the Pioneers, including the game-winner just over a minute into the extra period.
Air Force got out to a strong start, shutting out the Pioneers in the opening period, while Allen tallied a pair of unassisted goals in the first quarter to give the Falcons a 2-0 lead.
Denver was able to get on the board just over three minutes into the second period, but Air Force kept the lead for most of the quarter, getting a pair of scores from Crampton. However, the Pioneers closed out the opening half with two goals from Berg, including a score with seven seconds on the clock to tie the game at 4-4 going into the intermission.
The Pioneers took their first lead of the game at the 13:37 mark in the third period, while Crampton's third score of the day tied the game once more. Following another Denver goal, Keith Dreyer (So., Malvern, Pa.) tallied his first man-down score of the year to tie the game at 6-6 with just over six minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The Falcons broke the stalemate with a tally from Tommy McKee (Jr., Holt, Mich.) in the first two minutes of the final stanza, while back-to-back scores from Erik Smith (Jr., Golden, Colo.) and Ryland De Pol (So., Riva, Md.) gave Air Force a 9-6 advantage, its largest of the game, with just under nine minutes remaining. However, Denver answered with four straight scores to regain the lead with 4:18 on the clock.
A crucial forced turnover by Air Force with a minute and a half remaining gave the Falcons another opportunity to score, and Smith capitalized, getting an assist from Allen to tie the score with 17 seconds remaining, sending the contest into overtime. Denver won the opening face-off of the extra period, giving Berg the chance to tally the winning goal.
"I'm proud of our guys," said Air Force head coach Eric Seremet. "We played hard, we played with energy. We just weren't able to perform down the stretch."
The Falcons outshot the Pioneers, 45-42, for the game, and committed just nine turnovers, compared to 16 by Denver. However, the Pioneers held the advantage on face-offs, winning 15-of-25, including 11-of-15 after the intermission.
Air Force returns to action this Saturday, March 30, when it visits Michigan in an ECAC match-up.