WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — American International moved into a three-way tie for fifth place in the MAAC when it upset first-place Mercyhurst, 5-4, in overtime at the Olympia Ice Center on Friday.
Freshman forward Anthony Rufrano netted the game-winning goal just 16 seconds into overtime to lift the Yellow Jackets to their second overtime victory in as many weeks. AIC is 3-0-1 in overtime this season.
Rufrano was assisted by classmate Guillaume Caron, who was celebrating his 20th birthday, and junior assistant captain Olivier Gagnon. The trio accounted for three of the Yellow Jackets’ five goals on the evening.
AIC senior goaltender Chance Thede broke his own single-season school saves record as his 35 saves gives him 821 this season. Thede recorded 810 stops during the 1998-99 campaign. He also holds the school’s career saves mark with 2,834 to his credit.
The Yellow Jackets took a 1-0 lead early in the first period as Rufrano netted a goal at 3:46 from Caron and freshman Jay Fennessy.
Mercyhurst knotted the score 4:43 into the second period as senior Jeff Gould slipped a puck past Thede off a feed from classmate Jody Robinson.
AIC answered as freshman John Levesque registered his first collegiate point with a goal, assisted by junior Kevin Fournier, at 8:25.
The Lakers answered back as junior Louis Goulet scored off a feed from freshman Nolan Brown to knot the score at two after two periods of play.
After Caron, Rufrano and Gagnon clicked again for AIC just 36 seconds into the third period, Mercyhurst stormed back with goals from Eric Ellis at 8:24 and Peter Rynshoven at 10:16.
AIC sophomore Andy Luhovy knotted the game for a fourth time just 1:07 later, assisted by senior captain Aaron Arnett, at 11:23 to send the contest into overtime.
Mercyhurst freshman Matt Cifelli recorded totaled 27 saves in defeat.