COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Les Reaney had two goals and three assists to lead Niagara to a 7-2 win over Air Force in a College Hockey America game Saturday night (Jan. 14) at the Cadet Ice Arena.
The teams split the two-game series as Niagara remained in a tie for first place with Bemidji State. Niagara improved to 11-10-1 overall and 6-3-1 in the CHA. Air Force fell to 5-12-1 and 3-5-0 in the CHA.
Niagara scored three goals in the first period as Ted Cook scored on the power play at 4:36 and then scored even strength at 7:35. Reaney added a power-play goal at 14:23 for a 3-0 lead.
Air Force got on the board at the 17:28 mark of the first period as Theo Zacour netted his fourth of the season from Mike Phillipich and Brooks Turnquist. Phillipich fed Zacour in the slot who fired high to beat Jeff Van Nynatten.
The second period was all Niagara, despite Air Force having a five-minute power play. Matt Caruana’s power-play goal at 5:24 gave the Purple Eagles a 4-1 lead. However, at the 6:18 mark, Niagara’s Mike Maier was whistled for a five-minute checking-from-behind penalty and given a game disqualification for a hit on Peter Shenk.
Air Force had a full five minutes on the power play and only generated three shots on goal. Even more troubling for the Falcons was that with 15 seconds left on the man advantage, Reaney stole a pass at the Falcon blue line and scored shorthanded for a 5-1 Purple Eagles lead. Sean Bentivoglio’s goal at 13:27 of the second period gave Niagara a 6-1 lead.
The Falcons were much better in the third period, out-shooting the Purple Eagles, 14-5. Niagara scored again at the 11:37 mark of the third on a goal by Scott Langdon. Air Force rounded out the scoring with 24 seconds remaining as team captain Matt Bader scored from Josh Schaffer and Jay Medenwaldt.
“To win, you have to deserve to win, and we didn’t deserve to win tonight,” Air Force head coach Frank Serratore said. “Sometimes it’s not just losing, but it’s how you lose. Niagara was a step ahead of us all night. Their energy was much better and they badly out-special-teamed us. We kept coming at them and kept fighting, but they kept getting the next goal.”
Despite getting beat, 7-2, the Falcons out-shot the Purple Eagles, 29-22. Niagara was 4-for-5 on the power play and also scored a shorthanded goal. AFA was 0-for-4 on the power play. Peter Foster took the loss as he started and played just 14 minutes. He allowed three goals on eight shots. Ian Harper played the final 46 minutes and gave up four goals on 14 shots. Jeff Van Nynatten made 27 saves for the Purple Eagles.