The final seconds of the game cost Air Force on Saturday.
The Falcons were tied with Niagara before Purple Eagle forward Olivier Gauthier scored the go-ahead goal with six seconds remaining. Niagara kept the puck away from Air Force for the remaining ticks to clinch its 2-1 win.
Air Force’s loss sealed a series split after the Falcons won 6-3 on Friday. The Falcons have lost 10 of their last 11 contests.
Neither team scored in the first period, but Niagara got on the board in the second. Purple Eagle forward Josef Mysak found the net with both teams at full strength.
A period later, Air Force’s Will Gavin tied the game. Brandon Koch and Andrew DeCarlo assisted Gavin, who scored his second goal in as many games.
The teams swapped shot for shot before Gauthier’s game winner. Air Force pulled its goalie for the last six seconds, but couldn’t put a shot on goal, allowing Niagara to escape.
The game was fairly even throughout all 60 minutes. Niagara had one more shot than Air Force (31-30) and both teams were held scoreless on their power-play opportunities.
Senior Austin Park took the loss in goal for the Falcons. Park is 1-3. He made 29 saves while allowing two goals. Chad Veltri earned the win for Niagara.
After entering the weekend in last place in the Atlantic Hockey Association standings, the Falcons crept slightly closer to their competition.
Air Force earned three points from Friday’s win, and the Falcons are now four points behind ninth-place Bentley and seven points behind eighth-place Canisius. The league's top eight teams reach the conference tournament.
The Falcons will look to earn more points on the road against Army next weekend.