Mike Gurtler’s goal at 3:09 of overtime lifted Mercyhurst to a 3-2 win over No. 19 Air Force in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Saturday, Jan. 31, at the Mercyhurst Ice Center in Erie. Pa.
Mercyhurst improved to 12-12-3 overall and 10-6-3 in the AHA. Air Force fell to 17-7-2 overall and 14-4-2 in the league. The Falcons are one point behind first-place RIT in the league standings.
Mercyhurst opened the scoring at the 6:43 mark as Ryan Raven tipped in a shot from Brandon Coccimigilio. The Falcons tied the game early in the second period with a highlight-quality goal from Josh Frider. Jacques Lamoureux made a centering pass from the right corner and Frider came diving through the slot to tip in his 13th of the season at the 5:05 mark. Senior defenseman Michael Mayra also assisted on the play. Air Force out-shot Mercyhurst, 19-5, in the second period including a 19-0 advantage through the first 16 minutes.
The Lakers regained the lead at the 12:50 mark of the third period with a goal by Nick Vandenbeld after an Air Force turnover in its on end. The Falcons again tied the game with 4:29 left with a short-handed goal by Brent Olson. Scott Mathis cleared the puck on the penalty kill and Josh Frider skated the puck down the left side. Olson scored his second shortie of the season and his sixth goal of the season.
Air Force had a power play late in the third period that carried over into overtime, but was unable to score. Air Force had five shots on goal in overtime, including some quality chances by Lamouruex, Olson and Paul Weisgarber. Then with just less than two minutes left, Greg Flynn took a slap shot from the left point that was blocked by Mike Gurtler. The puck bounced past Flynn and Gurtler collected the puck in the neutral zone. Gurtler skated in uncontested down the right side on Volkening and slid the puck just inside the far post for the 3-2 win.
Air Force outshot Mercyhurst, 45-25, in the game. Volkening made 22 saves while Ryan Zapolski made 43 for the Lakers. AFA was 0-for-3 on the power play while MC was 0-for-4.
Air Force returns home for a two-game league series, Friday-Saturday, Feb. 6-7, at 7:05 p.m. at the Cadet Ice Arena.