NEW HAVEN, Connecticut - A stale fourth quarter gave the second-ranked Yale Bulldogs a chance to pull away from Air Force for a 13-6 win, Tuesday evening, at Reese Stadium on the campus of Yale. The Falcons' win-streak closed at four as they drop to 6-3 on the season, with a 2-0 mark in the SoCon. Yale's win-streak improves to six-straight as the Bulldogs are now 6-1 overall.
The 2018 National Champions put the Falcons on their heels early as they punched in two goals in the first 89-seconds of the game. Following a brief Air Force timeout, Cameron Carter fed Trey Lervick who pump faked a shot then followed up with a bouncer around the Yale keeper for Air Force's first goal. Yale hastily responded with their third goal.
Following a slashing foul on Yale, Lervick sent a ripper into the top-shelf via Matthew O'Rourk's feed in the man-up situation to bring Air Force within one goal. The Bulldogs plugged in one more goal before the end of the quarter. Sophomore keeper Braden Host made five first-quarter saves, three of which from point-blank range. The Bulldogs outscored Air Force, 4-2, in the first quarter.
At the 6:21 mark in the second quarter, Carter broke free of his defender and zoomed down the alley where he connected with Lervick and his hot hand. Lervick, who had five hat tricks prior to the game, punched in his third-straight goal for his sixth-straight hat trick of the season to bring Air Force within one. Yale re-upped their lead to a pair with a goal two-minutes later.
With 33.5-seconds remaining in the half, Lervick added an A to his stat line as he fed Christian Kuhn for a shot and a goal in a man-up opportunity. The goal marked Kuhn's sixth of the season. The Falcons entered the halftime locker room trailing by one, 5-4. Host closed the first half with 10 saves to his credit.
Yale was the first to score in the second half with a goal off a forced turnover at the midfield line, increasing their lead to two goals. At the 8:24 mark in the third quarter, the Bulldogs' Matt Gaudet added his third goal of the game, Yale's seventh, as the Falcon struggled to find an offensive rhythm.
At the 5:18 mark, Matthew Schwartz found Kuhn off a cut-away from the defender, who then found the nylon for his second goal of the game, bringing the Falcons within two goals, 7-5. Yale's Jack Tigh responded with a goal just 48-seconds later to retake a three-goal lead. In the waning seconds of the third quarter, Yale built its largest lead of the night with a goal from Matt Brandau.
The fourth quarter was all Yale as they outscored Air Force, 4-1, in the final 15 minutes. Kuhn scored his hat trick goal with 1:43 remaining in the game via Kyle Richbourg's assist coming off a caused turnover. The score marked his first collegiate hat trick. The Bulldogs 10th goal marked the first time Air Force let a team hit double-figures since playing the University of Denver in the season opener, Feb. 9.
At the final whistle, Yale outshot Air Force 52-25, and won 20-of-23 face offs, giving Air Force is largest losing disparity in both categories all season. Lervick led the Falcons with five shots. Freshman defender Quentin Carlile recorded a game-high three caused turnovers while scooping up a pair of ground balls.
Host, despite the loss, played one of his most impressive games to date, recording a career-high 19 saves against the Yale powerhouse offense.
Air Force returns to the Academy to host Southern Conference foe Jacksonville, Saturday, March 30, at 12 p.m. MT. The Falcons are 6-2 against the Dolphins in the all-time series and 2-1 when playing at USAFA.