U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – Air Force scored five unanswered goals for a 5-2 win over Canisius in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Friday, Dec. 3, at the Cadet Ice Arena. Canisius scored the first two goals and had a 2-0 lead with seven minutes left in the second before the Falcons rallied for their fifth win of the season.
Air Force (5-9-1, 3-5-1 AHA) controlled play in the first period, but found itself down 1-0 after the first 20 minutes. The Falcons held a 15-7 shot advantage in the period. Late in the first, Keaton Mastrodonato skated the puck coast to coast and went behind the goal line. As Falcon goalie Alex Schilling slid to his left to make a save, Mastrodonato sent the puck to the front of the net. The puck caromed off an Air Force defenseman and into the open net at 16:43.
Canisius (8-7-1, 5-4-0 AHA) took a 2-0 lead when the Griffs forced a turnover in the neutral zone and Connor Zilisch scored with a wrister from the left circle at 2:58 of the second. Air Force answered with three goals in the final seven minutes of the second period.
Air Force got on the board when junior Andrew Kruse netted his first of the season as he redirected a point shot by Luke Robinson at 13:09. Sam Brennan also assisted as the Falcons trailed 2-1. Four minutes later, the Falcons tied the game. Willie Reim drove the net and dropped a pass from Andrew DeCarlo on the doorstep. DeCarlo netted his first career goal at 17:15 as Nate Horn also assisted. After a too many men on the ice penalty on the Griffs, the Falcons took the lead. Luke Rowe’s slap shot from the center point gave the Falcons a 3-2 lead at 18:41. Brennan and Nate Coon also assisted on Rowe’s fifth of the season.
The Falcons took a 4-2 lead with its second power-play goal of the game. DeCarlo and Brennan handled the puck on the wall as Reim scored with a wrister from the right circle at 7:50. In the final two minutes, Canisius pulled its goalie for the extra attacker and the Falcons netted their first empty netter of the season. Brennan and Robinson sent the puck out of the zone and Reim scored from the red line for his third of the season with 48 seconds left.
Air Force outshot Canisius, 40-15, the second most shots of the season for the Falcons. Air Force was 2-for-5 on the power play while killing all six of Canisius’ man advantages. Air Force has killed 28 straight opponent power plays. Alex Schilling made 13 saves for the Falcons. Canisius starter Jacob Barczewski made 25 saves in 46 minutes before leaving with an injury. John Hawthorne came in to make 10 saves over the final 12 minutes.
“We played hard the whole game,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “We got behind, but it was poetic justice that we came back to win. Our compete level far exceeded theirs. Our penalty kill came up big again and our power play scored two. Schilling was good for us when he had to be. He didn’t see a lot of shots, but he saw some tough ones. Our pattern has been pretty consistent on Friday nights. Now let’s see if we can get one on Saturday.”
The same two teams conclude the two-game series on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 5:05 pm at the Cadet Ice Arena.