No. 19 Air Force holds off Arizona State, 4-3 - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

No. 19 Air Force holds off Arizona State, 4-3

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No. 19 Air Force built a three-goal lead and then held off Arizona State for a 4-3 victory in a non-conference college hockey game Friday, Oct. 13, in front of a sellout crowd at the Cadet Ice Arena.

Air Force jumped on the board early as senior Ben Kucera scored on the power play at 2:18. Matt Koch’s shot was saved, but Kucera put back the rebound for his first of the season. Freshman defenseman Zack Mirageas had the second assist, his first career point. The Falcons took a 2-0 lead later in the first period as junior Kyle Haak forced a turnover in the neutral zone and skated in uncontested on Sun Devil goalie Joey Daccord. Haak’s first shot was saved, but he put back his own rebound at 15:28.

Early in the second, ASU’s Anthony Croston scored from Dylan Holman at 17:42 to cut the Falcon lead to 2-1. Air Force answered with the next two goals. On the rush, Tyler Ledford gave the puck to Evan Giesler on the left side who fed Erik Baskin crashing the right post. Baskin’s team-leading second of the season put the Falcons up 3-1 at 9:23. With just under two minutes left in the second, senior defenseman Dylan Abood’s wrister snuck through a screen by Erich Jaeger for a 4-1 lead. Giesler and freshman Walker Sommer tallied assists. The point for Sommer was the first of his career.

The Sun Devils roared back in the third to make the game close at the end. Jacob Wilson scored on the power play at 9:11 and then Tyler Busch scored 4-on-4 at 14:28 to cut the Falcon lead to 4-3. ASU pulled the goalie with 1:00 left and had a flurry in the final 30 seconds as Billy Christopoulos made three saves for the Falcons.

Air Force outshot ASU, 42-33, in the game. The Falcons were 1-for-5 on the power play while the Sun Devils were 1-for-7. Christopoulos made 30 saves while Daccord made 38.

“We out-worked them in the first two periods, but I didn’t like the way we managed the third,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “We got sloppy. It was disheartening because we worked so hard to get that 4-1 lead. We didn’t really win the game, we survived it. We did a lot of things well, but we had too many players playing erratically. We will not win consistently playing like that. We made some nice plays to score our goals, but we need to play better as a collective unit.”

Air Force and Arizona State will conclude the two-game series on Saturday, Oct. 14, at 7:05 pm at Cadet Ice Arena.

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