Falcons fall at Holy Cross, 3-2

Published: Dec. 3, 2016 at 9:04 PM MST
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Holy Cross scored three unanswered goals and then held off a Falcon rally for a 3-2 win in an Atlantic Hockey Conference game on Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Hart Center in Worcester, Mass. Air Force scored 65 seconds into the game and then didn’t score again until an extra-attacker goal with 15.7 left.

Air Force, 7-6-3 overall and 4-3-1 AHC, scored early as Dylan Abood pushed a puck down the wall to Kyle Haak and Haak scored his third of the season just 65 seconds into the game. Air Force outshot Holy Cross, 9-1, in the first half of the first period. However, Holy Cross outshot Air Force, 8-1, in the second half of the period.

Holy Cross, 6-5-3 overall and 3-2-3 AHC, scored two goals in a span of 2:25 to take a 2-1 lead. Peter Crinnella picked up a loose puck on the boards and took a shot that snuck through traffic and tied the game at 11:51. With the Crusaders buzzing in the Air Force end, the Falcons were unable to clear the zone and Holy Cross capitalized. Mitch Collett scored with a wrister from the high slot at 14:16 for a 2-1 Crusader lead.

Midway through the third period, Crusader defenseman Charlie Barrow took a shot from the right point that was saved, but Danny Lopez cleaned up the rebound for a 3-1 lead at 7:50. With 4:16 left, the Falcons pulled the goaltender for the extra attacker. With 3:00 left, a penalty was called on the Crusaders and the Falcons had a two-man advantage. With less than 30 seconds left, Kyle Mackey took a shot that created chaos down low. With a pile of bodies in front of the net, the whistle blew stopping play. After an official review, the officials ruled Kyle Haak stuffed the puck past Paul Berrafato with 15.7 seconds left to make the score 3-2.

Each team had 30 shots in the game. From the middle of the first period to early in the third period, Holy Cross outshot Air Force, 23-7, during a span of about 40 minutes. Air Force was 0-for-4 on the power play while Holy Cross was 0-for-3. Starrett made 27 saves for the Falcons while Berrafato had 28 for the Crusaders.

“We had a great first period and there was a lot to like about that,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “Give them credit. They are a hard-working team and very difficult to play against. They earned everything they got tonight. They imposed their will on us in the second period. When we were down 2-1, we needed to get the next goal, but instead they did. They found a way to get it done tonight.”

Air Force returns home to host the Niagara Purple Eagles in a two-game league series, Dec. 9-10, at the Academy’s Cadet Ice Arena.