HAMDEN, Conn. – Matt Tugnutt’s goal at 2:54 of overtime lifted Sacred Heart to a 2-1 win over Air Force in an Atlantic Hockey Conference game Tuesday in Hamden, Conn.
This game was rescheduled from Jan. 20 due to the government shutdown and was played on the campus of Quinnipiac University.
“This was very, very disappointing,” coach Frank Serratore said. “At this time of year, you either get it done or you don’t. Sacred Heart is a strong team that is playing with confidence right now.”
In the first two minutes of the opening period, SHU (10-16-4, 8-12-4 AHC) went on the power play and took the early lead. Vito Bavaro made a pass to Zach Tsekos in the right circle and who sent the puck across to Marc Johnstone on the back door. Johnstone’s 10th of the season gave the Pioneers a 1-0 lead at 1:47.
Air Force (15-13-4, 10-11-3) outshot Sacred Heart, 9-7, in the second period, but neither team scored.
The Falcons tied the score early in the third period. Erich Jaeger and Trevor Stone battled for a puck on the wall and Stone’s centering pass found Marshall Bowery in the slot. Bowery netted his sixth of the season, and fifth in his last seven games, to tie the score at 1-1 at 5:59 of the third.
"I thought we played pretty good in the second and third periods, Serratore said. "This game was pretty even and could have gone either way. But they found a way to win and we didn’t."
In overtime, Air Force had two shot attempts in the first minute, but both were knocked down before reaching the goaltender. SHU sent the puck into the offensive zone and Tugnutt’s shot from a sharp angle, bottom of the right circle, was the game winner at 2:54.
SHU outshot Air Force, 28-24, in the game. SHU was 1-for-3 on the power play while Air Force was 0-for-4. Billy Christopoulos made 26 saves for the Falcons while Brett Magnus made 23 for the Pioneers.
Air Force returns home to host Canisius, Friday-Saturday, Feb. 16-17, at Cadet Ice Arena. Friday’s game starts at 7:05 pm while Saturday’s game starts at 5:05 pm.