Feb 22, 2013 11:15 PM by Jordan Mason
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Kyle De Laurell scored two goals as Air Force beat RIT, 5-3, in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Friday, at the Frank Ritter Arena in Rochester, N.Y. Air Force improved to 15-10-7 overall and 13-6-5 in the league. RIT fell to 12-14-5 overall and 10-10-4 in the league. With the win, Air Force remains in second place in the league with 31 points. RIT fell to seventh place with 23 points. Air Force can clinch a first-round bye on Saturday with a win over RIT.
Midway through the first period, RIT opened the scoring on the rush. Greg Noyes made a centering pass and Anthony Hamburg tipped it in for a 1-0 lead at 9:38 of the opening period.
Late in the first period, Falcon defenseman Eric Artman drew a penalty and the Falcons went on the power play. After a whistle on the power play, a major penalty for contact to the head and a game misconduct was called on Falcon forward Cole Gunner. A cross-check was called on RIT's Jeff Smith so the 4-on-3 Falcon power play carried over to the second period. Fifty-six seconds into the second period, Adam McKenzie scored to tie the game at 1-1. Chad Demers made a centering pass to Kyle De Laurell in the slot. De Laurell tipped it to McKenzie on the left side as he netted his fourth of the season. After the goal, the Falcon penalty killed a three-minute RIT power play that was remaining from the major. The Falcons then killed a two-minute Tiger power play and the score remained tied until late in the period. RIT took a 2-1 lead as Matt Garbowsky scored from the slot at 15:04. Andrew Miller made a pass from behind the net that bounced around and ended up on Garbowsky's stick for his sixth of the season.
Early in the third period, Air Force scored two goals in a 31-second span to take a 3-2 lead. De Laurell tied the game at 2-2 at the 3:54 mark of the third period. Ben Carey took a shot that hit Chad Demers in front. Goaltender Jordan Ruby went down to make the save on Demers, but the puck bounced into the crease and De Laurell pushed it over the goal line. AFA took its first lead of the game at 4:25 as Casey Kleisinger scored his sixth of the season. Jason Fabian and Max Hartner assisted on the goal that resulted after a flurry in front of the net. Trailing 3-2 with 1:33 remaining in the third period, RIT pulled its goalie for an extra attacker. Tony Thomas collected a loose puck in his own end and skated through the neutral zone. His wrister into the empty net gave the Falcons a 4-2 lead with 1:21 remaining. The Tigers pulled their goalie again and scored an extra attacker goal with 53 seconds remaining. Garbwosky scored his second of the game, and seventh of the season, to cut the Falcon lead to 4-3. The Tigers again pulled the goalie in the final 40 seconds and Falcons took advantage. Thomas got to a loose puck and took a shot from the left circle that was wide of the open net. However, De Laurell kept the puck in the zone and slid it into the empty-net. His second of the game and 16th of the season sealed the 5-3 victory.
Air Force outshot RIT in every period and 35-24 in the game. AFA was 1-for-2 on the power play while RIT was 0-for-4. Jason Torf made 21 saves for the Falcons while Jordan Ruby made 30 for the Tigers.
"This was a great win for us," head coach Frank Serratore said. "We had to come from behind to win on the road and you have to be able to do that if you aspire to be a champion. We played a great third period. RIT was a difficult team to play against. Our penalty kill tonight was big. You have to have good special teams coming down the stretch."
Air Force and RIT conclude the two-game series on Saturday, Feb. 23, at 7:05 p.m. ET in Rochester, N.Y.