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College Hockey:
Crusaders Rally In Middle Frame, Upend Falcons

— “Wild” would be an understatement in describing the series finale between Air Force and Holy Cross, as the Crusaders scored four goals in the second period and came from behind for a 7-6 win over Air Force in nonconference action Saturday night at the Cadet Ice Arena.

Holy Cross, 1-1 overall this season, scored three goals in the first five minutes of the game. Tony Coskren scored a power-play goal at 2:11. Brandon Doria and Tim Coskren each scored for a 3-0 lead. AFA came back to tie the score at 3-3 at the end of the first period.

Justin Hamilton’s goal at 8:34 was the first of five consecutive goals for the Falcons. Hamilton’s first goal of the season came from Steve Mead and Brian Gornick. Andy Berg’s power-play goal from Spanky Leonard and Brian Reaney came at 13:17 and made the score 3-2. Leonard tied the game at 3-3 with three seconds left in the first period. His blast from the point came from Ryan Smith.

The Falcons, 3-3 overall this season, continued the scoring flurry in the second period. Berg netted his fourth goal of the season at 3:30 from Gornick and Brian Rodgers. Gornick left the puck in the slot and Berg came flying in with a blistering slap shot to give the Falcons their first lead of the game. Reaney gave Air Force a 5-3 lead at 4:50. His unassisted goal was his second of the season.

Air Force’s five goals came in less than 17 minutes. The tide again turned as the Crusaders scored four unanswered goals in the second period.

After R.J. Irving scored at 8:19, Andrew McKay netted his second goal of the series to tie the game at 5-5 at 9:06. John Bombard then scored at 11:26 and Greg Kealey found the net at 12:19 for a 7-5 lead. Holy Cross’ four goals came in a span of four minutes.

The third period was another fast-paced 20 minutes with each team having several opportunities. Both reserve goalies, AFA’s Zach Sikich and Holy Cross’ Derek Cunha, played well in the period. Air Force had 19 shots in the period, but Cunha made several solid saves. The Falcons cut the Holy Cross lead to one as Leonard’s power-play shot from point made the score 7-6. Air Force pulled its goalie in the final 40 seconds, but several flurries in front came up empty.

“We need to play more consistent,” said assistant coach Derek Schooley. “We just can’t show up and turn it on and off. I commend our guys for playing hard, but we had come bad lapses in the game.”

For the second straight game, Schooley served as head coach in the absence of Frank Serratore. Serratore, AFA’s fifth-year head coach, was attending to family business.

The two teams combined for 79 shots in the game. AFA had 47 shots, 39 in the last two periods. Each team was 3-for-5 on the power play.

Both starting goalies were pulled from the game and did not factor into the decision. AFA starter Mike Polidor played 30:35 and gave up five goals in 16 shots, while Sikich played 28:47 and gave up two goals in 16 shots. Holy Cross starter Rick Massey played the first 20 minutes and gave up three goals on five shots. Cunha played the final two periods and stopped 36 of the 39 shots he faced.

The Falcons’ three-game winning streak came to an end as Holy Cross earned its first win of the season.

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