Jan 22, 2011 11:26 PM by Jordan Mason
STORRS, Conn. - Air Force battled back from a two-goal deficit in the second period for a 5-5 overtime tie in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Saturday at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum in Storrs, Conn. Air Force stays in fourth place in the AHA, 8-5-4 in the league and 10-9-4 overall. UConn remains in sixth place in the league with a 7-8-2 league record and 7-13-4 overall.
UConn built a 2-0 lead in the first 13 minutes of the first period. Jordan Sims took advantage of a bad break for Air Force midway through the first period. Mike Walsh tried to pass the puck around the boards in his own end but the puck hit an official and UConn took control. Marcello Ranallo scored from Jordan Sims on a 2-on-1 right in front for his ninth goal of the season at 8:55. The Huskies took a 2-0 lead at 12:46 on a scramble in front of Jason Torf. Brad Cooper's slap shot from the point was knocked down in front and Stevie Bergin put back the rebound for his second of the year. Later in the period, the Falcons went on the power play, but it was UConn that had a quality chance. The Huskies leading scorer, Cole Schneider picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and skated in uncontested for a short-handed breakaway. Torf made the save to keep the score 2-0. Just 30 seconds later, the Falcons capitalized as freshman Tony Thomas scored at 15:39. Jason Fabian's shot was knocked down in the slot and Thomas put back the rebound to cut the UConn lead to 2-1.
The Huskies regained the two-goal advantage just over three minutes into the second period. A Falcon turnover in the neutral zone sprung Rui Encarnacao who scored with a wrister from the left circle at 3:21. After the goal, junior Stephen Caple replaced Torf between the pipes for the Falcons. Air Force quickly answered to cut the Husky lead to 3-2 at the 4:16 mark. Tim Kirby sent the puck down the slot and Fabian knocked it down below the hash marks. His backhander went high stick side for his seventh of the season. After killing two UConn power plays, Air Force tied the game on a power play of its own. John Kruse fed Adam McKenzie at the center point and his slap shot beat Garret Bartus to tie the game at 3-3 at 15:10. In the final four minutes of the period, the Falcon penalty kill was put to work. Air Force killed a 51 second 5-on-3 and the remainder of the 5-on-4 while allowing just three shots on goal.
The teams combined for four goals in a span of just over four minutes. Air Force took its first lead of the game early in the third period when Tim Kirby scored his fourth of the season at the 9:07 mark. Kirby skated the puck down the left side, cut across the ice and scored from the right circle from Fabian and Thomas. The Huskies answered just a couple minutes later when Andrew Olson scored after the Falcons turned the puck over deep in their own end. His goal tied the game at 4-4 with 7:42 remaining. On the ensuing faceoff, Scott Kozlak score his second of the season for a 5-4 Air Force lead just eight seconds after UConn tied the game. The Air Force lead was short-lived as UConn scored 57 seconds later when Jason Krispel fired a wrister from the high slot to tie the game with 6:37 remaining. After the goal, Caple was pulled from the goal and Torf went back in.
In overtime, Air Force had three shots on goal and UConn had one. However, with 30 seconds left in the extra frame, the Huskies hit two posts.
Air Force outshot UConn, 36-34, in the game. Torf was credited with the tie as he made 14 saves while allowing three goals in 35 minutes. Caple made 15 saves and allowed two goals in 30 minutes. UConn sophomore Garrett Bartus made 31 saves. AFA was 2-for-4 on the power play while UConn was 0-for-4.
Air Force returns home for a two-game series against Canisius, Friday-Saturday, Jan. 28-29, at the Cadet Ice Arena.