Air Force, USA U-18 Team skate to 4-4 overtime tie in exhibition

Team USA wins in shootout
Air Force hockey plays The U.S. Under-18 National Team to a 4-4 tie Saturday at the Cadet Ice...
Air Force hockey plays The U.S. Under-18 National Team to a 4-4 tie Saturday at the Cadet Ice Arena(United States Air Force Academy)
Published: Dec. 12, 2020 at 9:05 PM MST
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U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – Team USA scored two goals late in the third period to force a 4-4 overtime tie against Air Force in an exhibition game, Saturday, Dec. 12, at the Cadet Ice Arena.  Team USA’s Luke Hughes then scored in the shootout for the shootout win.

Team USA opened the scoring at 3:31 of the first period. With Air Force on the power play, USA’s Dylan Duke forced a turnover on the boards, took it to the net and scored short-handed. The Falcons answered about three minutes later to tie the game. Andrew Kruse poked a puck free in the neutral zone and Jake Marti’s shot was saved. Fellow freshman Will Gavin collected the rebound and scored at 6:07.

Early in the second period, Air Force took a 2-1 lead as senior defenseman Alex Mehnert scored with a blast from the center point. Marti won a faceoff in the offensive and Jake Levin slid the puck to Mehnert at 2:30 of the middle period. Two minutes later, the Falcons took a 3-1 lead on the rush. Defenseman Zach Mirageas led the rush on the right side and centered the puck to Bennett Norlin. Norlin’s short pass to his left was right on the tape of Thomas Daskas who scored at 4:24. Team USA answered on the rush  as Red Savage scored from Jack Hughes and Justin Janicke at 8:32. The Falcons took a 4-2 lead late in the period on the rush. Just as Marti came out of the penalty box. Mirageas again led the rush down the right side and fed Marti in the slot for his one-timer at 12:46. Freshman defenseman Sam Brennan also assisted on the play.

Air Force held on to the two-goal lead until late in the third period. With 6:25 left in the third, Team USA had a 3-on-2 rush and Justin Janicke scored from Savage. Less than three minutes late, Team USA tied the game as Jack Devine scored with a wrister from the left circle that snuck inside the far post at 3:41.

The Falcons outshot Team USA, 26-16, in the game. Air Force was 0-for-3 on the power play while Team USA was 0-for-1. Gibson Homer made 22 saves for the visitors. Air Force senior Zach LaRocque made 12 for the Falcons.

The same two team conclude the series on Sunday, Dec. 13, at 5:05 pm MT at the Cadet Ice Arena.