Air Force and Mercyhurst skate to 3-3 overtime tie

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ERIE, Pa. – Air Force scored two goals in the third period to battle back for a 3-3 overtime tie against Mercyhurst in an Atlantic Hockey Conference game Friday, Feb. 22, at the Mercyhurst Ice Center in Erie, Pa.

Mercyhurst (13-15-5 overall, 11-10-4 AHC) took the early lead on the power play. Steven Ipri’s shot from the center point was tipped in by Joshua Lammon at 15:56. Air Force outshot Mercyhurst, 17-10, in the first period. The 17 shots were the second most of the season. Air Force also had 17 shots on goal in the second period.

Air Force (14-12-5, 12-9-4 AHC) tied the game midway through the second period when Brady Tomlak tipped in a point shot by Alex Mehnert on the power play. Jake Levin also assisted on Tomlak’s sixth of the season at 8:34. Later in the period, Mercyhurst tied the game on the rush. Derek Barach fed Matthew Whitaker coming down the slot for the senior’s eighth of the season at 16:35.

The Falcons scored two goals in a span of 1:34 in the third period for a 3-2 lead. Sophomore Marshall Bowery tied the game at 6:21. Matt Pulver took a feed from Tomlak in the slot. Just as he was being knocked to the ice, he slid the puck to Bowery who scored his second of the season. After Even Feno drew a penalty, the Falcons capitalized on the power play. Tomlak won the ensuing faceoff and Mehnert slid the puck to Levin at the right point. His blast at 7:55 was his first goal of the season. Mercyhurst tied the game at 13:02. Lammon won a faceoff in the offensive zone and Joseph Duszak scored with wrister through a screen from the left point.

In overtime, each team had one shot on goal. Air Force outshot Mercyhurst, 40-22, in the game. Billy Christopoulos made 19 saves for the Falcons. Christopoulos became the 11th goaltender in school history with 2,000 or more career saves. Stefano Cantali made 37 for the Lakers. Air Force was 2-for-5 on the power play while Mercyhurst was 1-for-5.

“We did everything we could tonight,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “We showed great heart. I couldn’t be more proud of the guys. We played a really good 65-minute game. We found a way to battle back and earn a point. This was a heck of a road point tonight. I really like the way we are playing right now.”

Air Force and Mercyhurst conclude the two-game league series on Saturday, Feb. 23, at 5:05 pm MT in Erie, Pa.