Holy Cross outworked host Air Force to win 6-4 Friday night to record its first victory over the Falcons since Oct. 30, 2004, and its first in Atlantic Hockey Association play.
“They looked like a team trying to beat us for the first time in 11 tries,” said Air Force junior Jacques Lamoureux. “We had too many passengers tonight. We had too many guys hanging back looking for someone else to make the play.”
And Holy Cross (6-13-5, 5-9-4 AHA) took advantage, especially in the first 12 minutes of the second period.
Air Force was lucky to only be trailing 4-3 entering the third period.
Two power-play goals against the nation’s top penalty kill (90.3 percent coming in) gave the Crusaders a 3-2 lead. An even-strength goal by Rob Forshner made it 4-2 with 9:34 left in the second.
“I looked up and we were trailing 28-13 in shots,” Falcons coach Frank Serratore said. “I told them during intermission that the first goal scored in the second would be big and we gave up the next three goals.”
The two power-play goals that put Holy Cross ahead for good were set up by faceoff wins by the Crusaders in the Air Force end.
“Our intensity was bad and we were bad on the dot,” Serratore said. “We were not very good in the 1-on-1 battles.”
While the team as a whole struggled, some excellent individual efforts kept the Crusaders from pulling away early.
The Falcons’ Derrick Burnett knocked in his own rebound on a power play to make it 4-3, Crusaders, with 6:53 left in the second.
An Air Force rally looked possible headed into the third period, only to see Holy Cross’s Luke Miller score on the Crusaders’ first shot of the period to go up 5-3.
Lamoureux scored on a 5-on-3 power play to make it 5-4, but Holy Cross was able to control the neutral zone as it did all game long and force the puck along the boards, slowing down the Falcons.
Lamoureux scored an unassisted goal, pouncing on a Holy Cross turnover, to give the Falcons (11-9-5, 11-5-5 AHA) a 2-1 lead headed into the second.