COLORADO SPRINGS, Co. — Alabama-Huntsville’s Ron Baker scored the game-tying goal with 39 seconds left in the third period and then capped off his hat trick in overtime as UAH came from behind for a 5-4 overtime with over Air Force.
Air Force (13-13-3 overall and 5-8-3 in the CHA) held a 4-3 lead with less than a minute remaining when the Chargers pulled goalie Mark Byrne from the net. With 39 seconds remaining, Baker scored off of a mad scramble in front of the net to tie the game.
The Chargers (18-10-1 overall and 13-3-1 in the CHA) dominated the overtime period and Baker netted his game-winner at the 1:56 mark. Baker and Mike Funk skated into the neutral zone against three Falcon players. Funk gave Baker the pass on the right wing and he beat Marc Kielkucki short side to end the game.
“We played hard but we didn’t play smart,” Falcon coach Frank Serratore said. “There is nothing positive to take away from this. This is playoff hockey and you have to find a way to win. We didn’t. We found a way to lose. We were badly out-played in the overtime period.”
UAH jumped out to a 1-0 lead as Baker scored his first goal of the evening. But, the Falcons answered at the 12:38 mark as Brian Rodgers put away a rebound of Scott Bradley’s shot to tie the game.
Falcon center Andy Berg scored two goals in the first six minutes of the second period to give the Falcons a 3-2. With less than three minutes left in the second period, Funk scored his 11th goal of the season to again tie the game, this time at 3-3.
Rodgers netted his second goal of the night at the 8:06 mark as he put away a rebound of Berg’s shot to give the Falcons a 4-3 lead.
UAH extended their lead in the CHA with the victory. The Chargers have 27 points in conference play, five points ahead of second-place Niagara. The loss dropped the Falcons to fourth place with 15 points. The University of Findlay, who defeated Bemidji State, 2-0, moved into third-place with 16 points.
“We do not control our own destiny any more,” Serratore said. “We need to win and we have to have some help. Third place is huge in our league and we need some help to get back there.”
Air Force and Alabama-Huntsville conclude the series Saturday night