PLYMOUTH, Mich. — Air Force blew a 3-1 third-period lead to Wayne State, but held on for a 3-3 tie Sunday afternoon in College Hockey America play.
With the tie, the Warriors are now just two points back of third-place Niagara and five up on Air Force heading into the final weekend of regular-season play.
Adam Krug got a fortunate bounce and scored on a partial breakaway 15:42 into the third period. Jason Bloomingburg’s pass from his own side of center hit an Air Force stick and ended up on Krug’s stick, who burned Falcons defenseman Steve Mead and beat goalie Pete Foster top corner.
“Any time you give up a two-goal lead it’s never good,” Air Force head coach Frank Serratore said. “But considering where we came from yesterday (a 5-1 loss), maybe it wasn’t so bad.”
Foster finished with 26 saves while WSU goalie Will Hooper stopped 23 in front of 703 at the Compuware Sports Arena.
After a scoreless first period, Brian Reese scored his first of the season on an Air Force power play at 5:49 of the second period. Eric Ehn carried into the Wayne State zone and as he crossed the goal line dished off to Reese, whose one-timer beat Hooper cleanly.
Stavros Paskaris tied the game at 8:50. Jason Baclig fed Paskaris at the Air Force blue line and after two dekes, Paskaris ripped home a shot from the left circle that went low glove side on Foster.
But with time winding down and a faceoff to Hooper’s right, Brandon Merkosky won the draw and Andrew Ramsey walked into a shot that Hooper only saw at the last second at 19:53.
“It was tough to see Krug lose that draw,” noted Warriors head coach Bill Wilkinson.
Seth Pelletier made it 3-1 Air Force at 8:36 of the third period. A loose puck squirted free to Hooper’s left during a goal-mouth scramble and Pelletier beat Hooper to the puck.
Taylor Donohoe then pinched in from the point and scored on Foster from the lip of the crease at 11:24.
“Taylor saw the opportunity and took a chance,” said Wilkinson. “That was the first of two bounces that went our way that period.”
Krug completed the comeback with his goal with 4:18 to play.
In overtime, Foster made a big glove stop on Tylor Michel in the waning seconds to maintain the tie.
“The second game in a series is always the toughest because you’re still drained from the night before,” Wilkinson said. “I told the boys after the second period that we needed to keep up the effort and stay disciplined.”
That talk was indirectly aimed at forward Mike Forgie, who took three straight penalties in the second period and was benched for the last half of the game.
Forgie and Wayne State (13-15-4, 6-8-4 CHA) will be back next weekend as Alabama-Huntsville comes in for a pair. The Falcons (13-16-3, 5-12-1 CHA) host Bemidji State.