It wasn’t pretty, but Air Force’s four-game losing streak ended Sunday as the Falcons earned a 3-2 overtime victory over the Rochester Institute of Technology at the Cadet Ice Arena.
“I figured that eventually we’d win an ugly game but I didn’t think she’d be that ugly,” Air Force coach Frank Serratore said. “That had to have been painful to watch.
“The important thing is that we found a way to win an ugly game.”
After falling behind 2-0 early in the second period, Air Force got goals by Scott Holm and Tony Thomas to tie the score through two periods. After a scoreless third period, Stephen Carew scored 1:01 into overtime.
“I got the puck in the neutral zone and just wheeled around the net, kind of ran into a guy in front of the net and then just threw it up,” Carew said. “Sometimes they just go in for you.”
RIT (2-8-3, 1-5-2 AHA) was whistled for 10 penalties, including two game misconducts, for a total of 42 minutes.
But Air Force (4-7-3, 3-4-1 AHA) couldn’t capitalize, getting just one power-play score and whiffing on 2:58 worth of two-man advantages.
“Obviously, our power play was somewhat awful; we had a lot of power play time and didn’t get anything done,” Carew said. “We need to get shots through and be more assertive around the net. I think right now we’re trying to be a little too cute with it.”
Members of the Atlantic Hockey Association are unaccustomed to seeing either of these teams anywhere near the bottom of the standings. In the six seasons that Air Force has been a member of the AHA, the Falcons have won five league titles, including the past two where they beat RIT in the finals, while the Tigers took the other (in 2010). In addition, Air Force’s AHA record of 90-46-30 over the past six seasons is second only to RIT’s mark of 107-42-24.
So to have these teams come into Sunday’s game sporting a combined conference record of 3-7-2 is, to say the least, peculiar.
“There’s a reason why they are in the standing where they’re at, and why we are in the standings where we’re at,” Serratore said. “We saw a bunch of that out there tonight.”
While Air Force’s losing streak came to an end, RIT extended its winless streak to six games.
“You have two teams that are used to having their way in this league that are struggling big time right now and trying to find themselves,” Serratore said. “We needed to find a way to win one. Now we can exhale a little bit — the pressure of a losing streak is over.”
And that, at least, isn’t ugly.