Mercyhurst defeats Air Force, 4-1

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U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. Joseph Duszak scored two goals and Garrett Metcalf made 34 saves to lead Mercyhurst to a 4-1 win over Air Force in an Atlantic Hockey Conference game Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Cadet Ice Arena. The two teams split the series as Air Force won 2-0 on Friday.

The Lakers (8-8-2, 6-5-1 AHC) jumped on the board early, on the rush. Chris Makowski won a puck behind the net and sent it out front. Tommasso Bucci slid the puck through the crease and Jeremy Wu tapped it in on the back door at 1:02. Late in the period, a major for interference was called on Laker Quinn Wichers. With two minutes of power play action in the first period, and the remaining three minutes in the second period, the Falcons had seven shots on goal, but were unable to score.

The Lakers took a 2-0 lead late in the second period when Duszak scored his fourth of the season. Duszak skated across the slot and sent a back-hander, through traffic, over the shoulder of Billy Christopoulos. Air Force got on the board two minutes later. Trevor Stone fed the right point and Zach Mirageas fired a shot that was tipped in by Kyle Haak at 15:28.

Air Force (9-7-0 overall, 9-5-0 AHC) started the third period on the power play, but was unable to convert. The Falcons had a second power play in the third period, but it was the Lakers that lit the lamp. Duszak’s second of the game was a short-handed goal at 5:04 as he forced a turnover in the neutral zone and scored on the breakaway. Late in the game, and on the power play, the Falcons pulled the goalie with 5:05 remaining for a two-man advantage. With three minutes left, Joshua Lammon blocked a shot in his own end, collected the loose puck and sent it into the empty net to seal the 4-1 win.

Air Force outshot Mercyhurst, 35-33, in the game. Billy Christopoulos made 29 saves for the Falcons. Each team was 0-for-5 on the power play.

“The better team was wearing green tonight,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “The turning point was when we didn’t score on that major. Mercyhurst was the hungrier team tonight and we saw that from the beginning of the game. This was a better game, and a faster game, than last night. We need this break as we need to get some guys healthy. I admire the guys we have out there on the ice. They have had to absorb all of the playing time due to our injuries. I am proud of this group.”

Air Force is now off until a two-game, non-conference series, against Bemidji State, Dec. 29-30, at the Cadet Ice Arena.