DETROIT, Mich. — Air Force opened up a 3-0 lead in the second period and held on for a 4-3 victory over Wayne State Friday night. The victory was AFA’s first conference road win of the season.
“It is very early in the season, but this was a must win for us,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “After giving away home conference points (earlier in the season) we needed to come in here and get some points.”
Air Force jumped on the board in the game’s first minute as Andy Berg scored from Brian Rodgers and Jeff Zurick 41 seconds into the game.
The Falcons then scored two quick goals in the second period as freshman Tom Starkey and Berg scored 59 seconds apart. Starkey’s first career goal came at 5:23 from linemate Justin Hamilton and defenseman Jeff Zurick. Berg scored from Ryan Smith who got his first point of the season at 6:24.
The Falcons, 7-3-1 overall and 2-2-1 in the CHA, spent the end of the second period and six minutes of the third period killing penalties. Wayne State had eight power plays in the game, scoring on two of them. The Falcons were 1-for-3 on the power play.
Trailing 3-0, Wayne State came back with two goals midway through the second period. Air Force scored a power play goal early in the third period for a 4-2 lead. Brian Gornick netted the game-winner from Jace Anders and Scott Zwiers at 7:04.
The Warriors, 4-7-1 overall and 0-2-1 in the CHA, got within one goal with 3:39 remaining in the third period. WSU pulled its goalie with 38 seconds remaining, but were unable to mount any kind of offensive attack.
“This was a team win and a character builder for us,” Serratore said. “We didn’t get any breaks in the game. We bent at times but we didn’t break. Now we put the pressure on them to win on Saturday. The question now is how do we handle this situation. Do we let them off the hook or do we take it to them and put them behind further behind us in the standings?”
The Falcons and Warriors conclude the series Saturday night.