EAST LANSING, Mich — Junior Willie Reim scored at 2:36 overtime to lead Air Force to a 3-2 victory over Michigan State in the regular-season opener for both teams at Munn Arena in East Lansing, Mich. It was Reim’s third overtime game-winner in the last five games dating back to last season and the fifth game-winner of his career.
Michigan State (0-1-0) lit the lamp first with a goal at 6:19 of the first period as Josh Nodler scored on a centering pass from Adam Goodsir. Air Force answered 77 seconds later as Nate Horn skated around the net and centered the puck for Luke Rowe. The captain and sophomore defenseman netted the third of his career to tie the game at 1-1 at 7:36.
Air Force (1-0-0) took its first lead of the game on the power play. On the breakout, Willie Reim gained the zone with a pass off the boards to himself and then his shot was saved. Horn scored the fourth of his career on the rebound at 4:54. MSU tied the game at 7:42 with a flurry in front of Alex Schilling. The first shot went wide of the net and bounced out front leading to a scramble in the crease. The ruling on the ice was no goal, but after video review, the goal was allowed and tied the game at 2-2.
Early in the third period, MSU appeared to take a 3-2 lead when Kristof Papp redirected a shot past Schilling. After video review, the goal was disallowed due to a crease violation. Neither team scored in the third period as the first game for both teams went into overtime.
In the 3-on-3 extra period, freshman defenseman Mitchell Digby skated into the left circle and fed Reim who had speed coming down the slot. Reim’s one-timer beat Spartan goalie Drew DeRidder with 2:24 left in overtime.
Air Force outshot Michigan State, 39-31, in the game. The Falcons were 1-for-2 on the power play while the Spartans were 0-for-1. Schilling made 29 saves for Air Force while Drew DeRidder had 36 for MSU.
“We were pretty good tonight,” said head coach Frank Serratore said. “We played tough and I don’t think Michigan State was ready for that. Both goalies played well, but Willie Reim was by far the best player on the ice. He looked like Cam Neely out there. He was all over the place. We played a very experienced team, but our young guys battled. This is going to be a fun group to grow with.”
Air Force and Michigan State conclude the two-game non-conference series on Saturday, Oct. 9, at 7 pm ET in East Lansing, Mich.