Air Force blanks RIT, 3-0, to sweep the series

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. Senior Billy Christopoulos recorded his sixth career shutout to lead Air Force to a 3-0 win over RIT in an Atlantic Hockey Conference game, Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Gene Polisseni Center in Rochester, N.Y. Air Force swept the Tigers and improved to 8-6-0 overall and 8-4-0 in the AHC.

In a scoreless first period, RIT (6-6-1, 4-4-1 AHC) outshot Air Force, 14-6, but Christopoulos was there to make every save. Midway through the second period, senior Evan Feno netted his second goal of the weekend for a 1-0 lead at 8:43. Freshman Keegan Mantaro and sophomore Walker Sommer assisted on the play as Mantaro collected his first career point.

Air Force had to withstand an early push from the Tigers early in third period before Kyle Haak drew a penalty on the Tigers. On the power play, Feno fed Brady Tomlak down low and drew the goaltender toward the post on the right wing side. Tomlak centered the puck to Geisler at the top of the crease for his fourth goal of the season. With 1:52 left in the game, RIT pulled its goalie for the extra attacker. Zach Mirageas chased down a loose puck in his own end and sent it up the boards. As RIT knocked down the puck at the blue line, Feno forced a turnover and shot the puck into the open the net from his own blue line with 62 seconds left.

RIT outshot Air Force, 31-24. Christopoulos made 31 saves in the game, including 14 in the first period. RIT sophomore goalie Logan Drackett made 21 stops. Air Force was 1-for-4 on the power play while RIT was 0-for-5.

“We had to weather the storm in the first period,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “RIT played a terrific game and deserved a better fate. But they ran into Billy the Greek. We just had to get through that first period. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a better goaltender performance in any game I’ve coached. For most of that game, they were pitching and we were catching.”

Air Force returns home for a two-game league series against Mercyhurst, Dec. 7-8, at the Cadet Ice Arena. Friday’s game starts at 7:35 pm MT while Saturday’s game starts at 5:05 pm MT