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Air Force Falcons defenseman Zack Mirageas (74) fights Bentley Falcons forward Luke Santerno (15) for the puck during the second period of their game at the USAFA Cadet Ice Arena on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. (Parker Seibold/The Gazette)

Zach Mirageas scored in 3-on-3 overtime to secure an additional standings point for the Air Force Falcons at Niagara on Saturday. The game officially ended in a 1-1 tie.

It was a strong individual effort as Mirageas carried the puck in from the neutral zone, fired it short side and it went off the goal post and in.

“With the effort that we put in the first 65 minutes ... to be honest with you, I thought it was very important for a lot of reasons that we found a way to win that thing,” coach Frank Serratore said in a postgame radio interview. “Just the positive energy that winning the 3-on-3 brings into the locker room afterward.

“It validated this effort, I think.”

Sophomore defenseman Carter Ekberg’s first career goal tied the game in the second period. It came on Air Force’s beleaguered power play a little over two minutes after Niagara’s Brandon Stanley gave the Purple Eagles a 1-0 lead. Freshmen Brandon Koch and Willie Reim picked up assists on Ekberg’s goal.

The Falcons’ (4-8-2 overall, 4-4-2 Atlantic Hockey) power play is clicking at the second-worst rate in Division I at 6.7%.

Each team failed to convert a late opportunity to grab all three available standings points. The Air Force penalty kill, which was only 1-for-3 on Friday in an overtime loss, was called upon with 52 seconds left in regulation.

The advantage swung back to the Falcons with 3:45 remaining in 5-on-5 overtime, when the Purple Eagles took a too-many-men penalty but killed it off.

Alex Schilling made 18 saves the night after his first collegiate loss. Niagara’s Brian Wilson had 34.

It was Air Force’s third straight game that went past 60 minutes. Once again, Serratore was denied his 400th Air Force victory as the Falcons wrapped up a road trip 1-1-2.

“I thought we were pitching and I thought they were catching the entire night,” Serratore said.

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