AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — Sometimes, even in ties, the score can be misleading as to how the game went.
In the case of Friday’s game between Air Force and Holy Cross, the end result, a 1-1 tie, was perhaps the only fitting end.
“That was kind of two mirror-image teams going at it,” Holy Cross coach Paul Pearl said.
His Falcons counterpart, Frank Serratore, concurred.
“It was exactly the kind of game I thought,” he said. “Them playing their game, us playing our game; it was two trains on a track, no doubt. It was a hard-fought game; I’m fricking spent right now.”
The Crusaders got on the board first a little over halfway through the first period. Jay Silvia stole the puck at the blue line, skated down, cut in front of the net and slid the puck five-hole past Air Force goaltender Jason Torf (23 saves).
Air Force got a lot of chances at the end of the period, including a late power play, but it was unable to get on the board.
“We didn’t have any puck luck. You’d think with all those shots we took that were blocked and hit shin pads and hit sticks, you think something would bounce your way,” Serratore said. “But you’ve got to manufacture your breaks.”
Holy Cross had a big chance to take a 2-0 lead early in the second when Jeffrey Reppucci got his rebound after a Torf leg pad save, but his secondary shot slid across the goal line.
Instead, with 5.5 seconds remaining in the frame, the Falcons tied it up. The Falcons made a couple of nifty passes to break into the zone, and continued them to get the goal. Matt Becker at the far dot passed back to defenseman Adam McKenzie, who let a shot fly that was going to go wide, but instead was tipped top shelf past Holy Cross goaltender Derek Kump by Paul Weisgarber.
The goal unleashed a torrent of toys from fans; this weekend is part of Air Force’s annual Toy Trick.
“They made a great play at the end of the period there, the one with a five-man rush,” Pearl said. “We didn’t pick everybody up and they got a goal.”
As a result of the late goal, the Falcons opened the third with a lot of fire, but it didn’t amount to anything. Silvia almost got his second of the game with about seven minutes to go, but Torf came up with a big save.
“Torf was kind of sneaky good,” Serratore said. “He didn’t have a lot of tough shots, but he stood for eight, 10 minutes sometimes, didn’t get a shot and then all of a sudden they’d manufacture a flurry and that’s tough.”
The teams exchanged chances in overtime, but the game stayed tied, thanks in part to the play of both Torf and Kump (29 saves).
“Their goalie was good [and] I thought my guy was really good. Derek, he’s never played here before, he’s a rookie, freshman and came in and did a pretty good job,” Pearl said. “You’re never satisfied unless you win, right? But we certainly are satisfied with the effort and the way we played a road game against a very good team.”