COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — When the Air Force Academy Fighting Falcons score four goals in a game, they usually expect to win and with good reason — the squad is 6-0-1 when scoring four or more.
However, on the strength of a late third period goal, the Bentley College Falcons pushed that to 6-0-2, tying Air Force 4-4 Friday night at Cadet Ice Arena.
To tie a game up with nine seconds left, its a good tie, said Bentley head coach Ryan Soderquist, but weve had three ties in a row and were trying to find a way to win.
On the flip side of the puck, Air Force has also been trying to find ways to win
Right now, things are tough, said Air Force bench boss Frank Serratore. We lost four of our last five games prior to this all by one goal — I mean, are you kidding me?
Its almost easier when you get drilled, drilled 7-2 or 8-2 — you flush it and move on.
Instead, Air Force played another emotional game that went down to the proverbial wire. The squad did start off the scoring though with about five minutes left in the first. Greg Flynn took a shot to the point that Josh Frider tipped in to cause a funky hop over Joe Calvis (36 saves) left pad to put Air Force up 1-0.
It just seems like with us, once you get one, the flood gates open, said Frider. We got one early in the first period just helped our confidence.
However, with just 14 seconds to play in the frame, Bobby Preece tipped in a low Jaye Judd shot past Air Force netminder Andrew Volkening (20 saves) to send the game into intermission tied at one-all.
When things are going the way theyre going for us lately, they win the draw and the point man fires a seeing-eye shot that finds its way to the back of the net, said Serratore.
Bentley took its first lead of the game just three minutes into the second period. With Mike Phillipich in the box for charging, Blake Hamilton pinched in the zone to keep the puck onsides and got it to Erik Peterson. Peterson, who scored four goals last weekend against Mercyhurst, then put a tough-angle shot in behind Volkening to put his squad up 2-1.
With six minutes to go in the middle period, Air Force came down on a three-on-one. Josh Schaffer flubbed on the initial shot and the first rebound came to Josh Frider, whose shot went under Calvi. Frider then picked the puck back up and dished it to Flynn who fired it past Calvi to tie the game back up.
Bentley (6-13-6, 6-7-6 AHA) then went up 3-2 with 6:51 remaining in the third when Peterson carried the puck down the left wing and centered a pass to Dain Prewitt who tipped it in past Volkening. Just 15 seconds later, however, Matt Fairchild took a pass from Derrick Burnett at the top of the crease to tie the game back up at three.
Air Force (12-10-5, 9-8-4 AHA) managed to break the tie once again with 1:17 remaining in the third, with Brent Olson scoring a goal on a play almost identical to the one that Fairchild scored. The lead was not to last, though, as with just nine seconds left and Calvi on the bench, Peterson snuck around the back of the net and jammed the puck on Volkenings left, weak side to send the game to overtime.
I kind of just snuck out back door and [Casey] Russell hit me with a good pass and thats pretty much it, said Peterson. It was basically our line; we played well.
We had a couple chances to clear it, we didnt get it deep, said Frider. I had a chance at the open net, and [when] we get those chances, we just gotta get it deep or bury it and Ive got to give them credit — they made a nice play.
Being down a goal with nine seconds left, its better than a loss, said Soderquist. Hopefully we can build on our last goal and come out tomorrow strong and well be happy with the tie.
Weve got to have the shortest memories of anybody in college hockey right now, said Serratore. We cant let that goal that was scored with nine seconds left be the cause of Bentleys first goal tomorrow.
The teams face off again tomorrow night at Cadet Ice Arena. The puck drops at 7:05 pm MT.