U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. Marshall Bowery scored two goals and Alex Schilling made 28 saves as Air Force defeated AIC, 4-1, in an Atlantic Hockey Association game, Friday, Jan. 3, at the Cadet Ice Arena.
Air Force (5-8-3, 5-4-3 AHA) opened the scoring at the 12:25 mark of the first period. With Air Force pressuring in the corner, AIC attempted to slide the puck through the middle of the ice. However, Falcon freshman Luke Manning intercepted it and netted his second of the season from the slot. Late in the period, the Yellow Jackets tied the game. Chris Dodero set up Jeff Baum at the left point. Baum tied the game with 91 seconds left in the period.
The Falcons built a 3-1 lead with two goals by Marshall Bowery in less than three minutes in the second period. Freshman defenseman Andrew Kruse made an outlet pass to Bowery on the left wing. The junior from Rochester Hills, Mich., beat Zackarias Skog with a wrister from the left dot at 9:32. Brandon Koch also assisted on the play. Just over two minutes later, the Falcons cycled the puck behind the AIC net. Willie Reim rimmed the puck to Alex Mehnert on the side boards. Mehnert’s shot was redirected by Bowery for a 3-1 lead at 11:50.
Late in the third period, AIC (8-10-1, 8-5-1 AHA) had a five-minute power-play. The penalty kill was perfect and Schilling made several key saves as the Falcons clung to the 3-1 lead. With 2:01 left in the third, AIC pulled its goalie, but the Yellow Jackets had just one shot on goal and two others that were blocked. Late in the game, Brady Tomlak won a faceoff in the defensive zone and Jake Levin pushed the puck forward. Kieran Durgan poked the puck between two Yellow Jackets and scored an empty-netter with eight seconds left.
AIC outshot Air Force, 29-20, in the game. AIC was 0-for-4 on the power play while Air Force was 0-for-3. Skog had 16 saves for the Yellow Jackets.
“This was a team that beat us into submission last season,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “But, it didn’t surprise me that our guys battled the way they did and were tough to play against. Our guys play with a lot of spirit. Scoring first was big for us and our penalty kill was great. The best player on the ice by a country mile was Alex Schilling. He was fantastic tonight.”
The same two teams conclude the two-game league series on Saturday, Jan. 4, at 5:05 pm at the Cadet Ice Arena.