Christopoulos makes 25 saves as Air Force holds off RIT for 2-1 win

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. Billy Christopoulos made 25 saves to lead Air Force to a 2-1 win over RIT in an Atlantic Hockey Conference game, Friday, Jan. 12, at the Gene Polisseni Center in Rochester, N.Y. Air Force has won two straight league games and improved to 10-10-3 overall, 5-8-2 in the AHC.

Midway through the first period, the Falcons opened the scoring on the rush. Ben Kucera carried the puck in the zone, drawing the defenseman with him. Kucera dropped the puck to Erik Baskin at the top of the right circle and the senior snapped a wrister high, blocker side, for his team-leading 10th of the season. Later in the period, Trevor Stone gave the Falcons a 2-0 lead. Stone skated around an RIT defenseman in the neutral zone and scored with a wrister from the left circle at 16:32.

In the first minute of the second period, Christopoulos stopped a breakaway by Tiger Shawn Cameron to hold on to the 2-0 lead. It was Christopoulos’ second save on a breakaway in the game as he stoned Mark Logan in the first period.

In the third, the Tigers pressured Air Force and got on the board at 12:36. Cameron slid a puck through the crease to Myles Powell on back door. Powell scored his eighth of the season to cut the Falcon lead to 2-1. With 1:54 left, RIT pulled its goalie for the extra attacker. In the 6-on-5 situation, the Falcons blocked four shots and Christopoulos made three saves to seal the win.

RIT (8-9-2, 7-5-1 AHC) outshot Air Force, 26-13, in the game. Air Force was 0-for-3 on the power play while RIT was 0-for-1.

“This was gutsy performance by our guys,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “But the key to the win was Billy Christopoulos. The difference in the game were the two breakaway saves he made. We had a lot of young guys step up tonight. We knew they would come at us hard early in the game, but we weathered the storm and got ahead early. This game could have gone either way, but sure glad we had the best player on the ice and that was No. 44 (Christopoulos).”

Air Force and RIT conclude the two-game series on Saturday, Jan. 13, in Rochester, N.Y.