Air Force and AIC skate to 2-2 overtime tie

U.S AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – Air Force sophomore Chad Demers scored with 2:51 left in the third period as the Falcons and the AIC Yellow Jackets skated to a 2-2 overtime tie in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Friday, Feb. 1, at the Academy’s Cadet Ice Arena. Air Force remained in second place in the league with 22 points (11-9-6 overall and 9-5-4 in the AHA). Air Force extended its unbeaten streak to seven games, the second longest in the nation. AIC is 5-14-5 overall and 2-11-5 in the league.

Falcon senior Kyle De Laurell scored his seventh goal in the last seven games as he put Air Force on the board at the 10:15 mark of the first period. Stephen Carew started the rush and skated through three Yellow Jackets at the blue line.

Cole Gunner then took the puck down the right side and fed De Laurell on the back door. De Laurell’s team-leading 11th goal of the season gave the Falcons a 1-0 lead.

Air Force outshot AIC, 26-5, in the second period but it was the Yellow Jackets that scored the only goal. Most of the second period was played in the AIC end, but Yellow Jacket goalie Ben Meisner kept the net clean. AIC defenseman Brandon Lubin then created a turnover in the neutral zone and sent the puck up to Richard Leitner.

Leitner skated down the right side and took a shot that was saved. Adam Pleskach’s rebound attempt was headed wide of the net but the puck caromed off the skate of Falcon forward Ben Persian and trickled inside the far post to tie the game at 14:38.

Just over a minute into the third period, AIC took a 2-1 lead on Chris Markiewicz’s third of the season. Brandon Fagerheim chipped the puck around an Air Force defenseman at the blue line and then took a shot that was wide of the net. Markiewicz collected the puck on the far side and his wrister from the bottom of the right circle gave the Yellow Jackets their first lead of the game. Air Force tied the game with less than three minutes left in the third period.

Falcon defenseman Dan Weissenhofer held the puck in the zone at the blue line and took a shot was knocked down in front. Demers then ripped a wrister over the shoulder of Meisner at the 17:09 mark. Meisner, who made 50 saves in the game, made his biggest save of the night in the final seconds of regulation. With time winding down, the Falcons skated the puck into the zone and John Kruse found De Laurell in the slot.

De Laurell’s backhand attempt from point-blank range was saved by Meisner with 2.8 second left in regulation.

In overtime, AIC had two shots while Air Force had one but neither team could break the tie.

Air Force outshot AIC, 52-23, in the game. Air Force goalie Jason Torf made 21 stops and is now just five shy of 2,000 for his career. He ranks 10th in career saves at Air Force with 1,995 career stops. Air Force was 0-for-5 on the power play while AIC was 0-for-2.

Air Force and AIC conclude the two-game league series on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 7:05 p.m. MT at the Cadet Ice Arena.