Jan 16, 2011 7:19 PM by Jordan Mason
USAFA, Colo. - Air Force battled back from a three-goal deficit to tie the game in the second period, but the Black Knights scored two goals in the final four minutes for a 5-4 win in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Saturday at the Cadet Ice Arena. A sellout crowd of 3,019, the second highest of the season, watched as Army improved to 6-14-2 overall and 5-8-2 in the league. AFA fell to 9-9-3 overall and 7-5-3 in the conference.
Army opened the scoring less than two minutes into the first period and built a 3-0 lead in the opening period. Cody Omilusik tipped in a slap shot by Mike Hull to give Army a 1-0 lead at 1:58 of the first on the power play. Just over three minutes later, Omilusik scored his 11th of the season on a give-and-go play with Bryant Skarda in the left circle. After the goal, Jason Torf was replaced in goal by junior Stephen Caple. The Black Knights took a 3-0 lead with 48 seconds left in the period when Andy Starczewski scored unassisted. Starczewski stole the puck from an Air Force defenseman and went coast-to-coast for his fifth of the year. The Falcons got on the board with 18 seconds left in the period when Casey Kleisinger won a faceoff back to Adam McKenzie. Kleisinger then tipped in McKenzie's shot for his second of the year.
Air Force dominated play in the first five minutes of the second period and cut the Army lead to 2-1 in the first 77 seconds. Mike Walsh fed Paul Weisgarber who skated the puck behind the net and fed John Kruse out front for his seventh of the season. The middle of the second period was marred by a plethora of penalties, but after the dust settled, it was Air Force that tied the game. On the power play, Tim Kirby made a long outlet pass to a wide open Jacques Lamoureux at the Army blue line. Lamoureux skated in uncontested and netted his eight of the year at 17:35. Scott Mathis also assisted on the play.
The score remained deadlocked at 3-3 until late in the third period when Army's Mark Dube scored on the power play with 4:09 remaining. After an Army penalty, Air Force had a power play with 3:23 remaining, but was unable to convert. After Army killed the penalty, the Black Knights were called for a too many men on the ice penalty with 1:16 remaining. Air Force pulled its goaltender for a two-man advantage, trailing 4-3. On the ensuing faceoff, Omilusik collected a loose puck in the faceoff circle and backhanded the puck down the ice and into the empty net at 18:49 to complete the hat trick. The Falcons kept the goaltender out of the net and Weisgarber scored on the rush with 44 seconds remaining. Kyle DeLaurell and Jacques Lamoureux assisted on the play. Air Force continued to go with the extra attacker, but Army cleared the puck in the final seconds to hold on for the 5-4 win.
Air Force travels to Storrs, Conn., for a two-game series against the UConn Huskies, Friday-Saturday, Jan. 21-22, at 7:05 p.m. ET each night.