ROCHESTER, N.Y. - RIT's Matt Garbowsky broke a 1-1 tie with six seconds left in the second period as the Tigers beat Air Force, 2-1, in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Frank Ritter Arena in Rochester, N.Y. Air Force fell to 15-11-7 overall and 13-7-5 in the league. RIT improved to 13-14-5 overall and 11-10-2 in the AHA. Air Force remains in second place in the conference while RIT moves into a tie for sixth place in the league.
Air Force opened the scoring in the first four minutes of the game. Back-to-back penalties on RIT gave the Falcons 1:43 of a 5-on-3 advantage early in the game. With the two-man advantage winding down, Air Force set up in the offensive zone and Stephen Carew sent the puck down low to Chad Demers. Demers fed Adam McKenzie in the left circle and the junior netted his second of the series and fifth of the year at 3:56. Late in the period, RIT tied the game on a wrap-around goal by Jeff Smith at 17:09.
In a physical, intense and defensive second period, the Falcons held the Tigers without a shot on goal for the first 16:26 of the period. However, in the final 3:34, RIT had six shots on goal and converted with six seconds left in the period. Air Force turned the puck over in its own end and Brad McGowan took a shot that was blocked in front. As goaltender Jason Torf was down on the ice, Matt Garbowsky skated around Torf and scored for a 2-1 lead with six seconds left in the second period.
In the third period, Air Force had 11 shots on goal while RIT 10, but neither team was able to score. Air Force pulled its goalie with 1:17 remaining but was unable to score. After several clears by RIT, Air Force's Kyle De Laurell took a shot that was saved with two seconds left as the Falcons fell, 2-1. RIT outshot Air Force, 24-23, in the game. Air Force was 1-for-3 on the power play while RIT was 0-for-1. Jason Torf made 22 saves for the Falcons. Jordan Ruby had 22 saves for the Tigers.
"RIT played a very good defensive style tonight," head coach Frank Serratore said. "This was a game when you just waited for one team to blink and we blinked with that turnover late in the second. This time of year you have to be able to win a 2-1 win and tonight it was them. We only scored one goal tonight and it was a 5-on-3. We needed to find a way to manufacture a goal tonight and we didn't get it done."
Air Force returns home for the final home regular-season season as the Falcons host Niagara, Friday-Saturday, March 1-2, at the Academy's Cadet Ice Arena. Faceoff is at 7:05 p.m. MT each night. Niagara has already clinched the AHA regular-season title while Air Force is in second place in the conference.