COLORADO SPRINGS, Co. — Air Force and Wayne State skated to a 1-1overtime tie in a College Hockey America game Friday night at the Academy’s Cadet Ice Arena.
“I was pleased with our effort and intensity level,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “But we have to put away our chances. We had some great chances and didn’t score.”
In an even, well-played game, Air Force jumped ahead 1-0 midway through the second period. Scott Bradley scored a power-play goal at the 14:48 mark when he re-directed a shot from the point by Andy Berg.
Wayne State, 14-10-2 overall and 6-5-2 in the CHA, tied the game early in the third period as Jason Durbin scored from Matt Zito and Dustin Kingston. Durbin collected a bouncing puck in the slot and scored his 12th goal of the season.
Both teams had quality chances down the stretch. Air Force’s Kyle Fransdal got loose for a breakaway with 1:10 remaining in the third, but pushed a shot wide of the net.
With 20 seconds left in regulation, WSU’s Kingston and Durbin were right in front of the net with shots, but had one saved and one sail wide of the net.
With three seconds left in overtime, Bradley sent a shot deep from the right wing that was saved but Brian Rodgers was crashing the net from the backside. His rebound effort went wide of the cage and the game ended.
Air Force, 12-10-3 overall and 4-5-3 in the CHA, out-shot the Warriors, 32-27 in the game. Marc Kielkucki made 26 saves for the Falcons, including 20 in the last two periods. David Guerrera made 31 saves for Wayne State.
“This was a better tie for them than it was for us,” Serratore said. “Saturday’s game is a must-win for us. They are still a point ahead of us in the standings and we have to get two points Saturday night.”
Wayne State continues to cling on to its one-point lead over Air Force in the CHA standings. WSU is in the all-important third spot with 14 points. Air Force is fourth with 13. The fourth and fifth teams play in an elimination game to start the CHA Playoffs, March 8, in Huntsville, Alabama. The third spot is important because that team would only play two, instead of three, games at the tournament and would not face the No. 1 seed in the semifinals.
AFA and WSU conclude the series Saturday night (Feb. 3) at 7 p.m. at the Cadet Ice Arena.