LEWISTON, N.Y. — Wayne State’s Dusty Kingston scored the winning goal off a deflection as Wayne State defeated Air Force, 3-1, in the semifinals of the College Hockey America Tournament Friday at Dwyer Arena.
With less than six minutes left in a 1-1 game, Kingston took a shot from the top of the circle that hit Falcon goalie Mike Polidor in the chest. The puck bounced out and hit AFA forward Derek Olson in the back of the leg, changed direction and trickled over the goal line.
WSU’s Jack Redwood added an insurance goal two minutes later.
Fifth-seeded Air Force and top-seeded Wayne State battled for 54 minutes of dead-even hockey. The scored was tied at 1-1 with less than six minutes left and the shots were nearly even as well. Wayne State outshot Air Force, 16-11, in the third period and 32-26 for the game.
After a scoreless first period, Warrior freshman Nathan Rosychuk opened the scoring at 8:15 of the second period, redirecting a shot by Jason Durbin for a 1-0 WSU lead.
AFA tied the game four minutes later. After a rush up ice, Kyle Fransdal tried a wraparound that was stopped by WSU goalie David Guerrera. Justin Hamilton collected the rebound and went top shelf for his third goal of the season.
The score remained tied until Kingston’s goal with 5:39 remaining. After a Falcon turnover in their own end, Redwood scored on a rebound for a 3-1 lead. The Falcons pulled Polidor from the net with 2:22 left, but could not get one past the Guerrera, the CHA Player of the Year.
The loss ended Air Force’s season at 16-16-2 overall. AFA’s unbeaten streak, the second longest in the nation and the longest all-Division I streak in school history, also came to an end.
Wayne State advances to the CHA championship game Saturday against Alabama-Huntsville.