Air Force falls in overtime to Holy Cross despite strong showing from goalie Alex Schilling | Hockey

The Falcons knew they’d have their hands full with Holy Cross.

Despite the Crusaders coming into Friday’s contest at the bottom of the AHA standings, they were starting to find their stride.

The last three weeks saw Holy Cross split with AIC (first in the AHA), Sacred Heart (second) and Army (fifth).

And when the game at Cadet Ice Arena began Friday, Holy Cross continued its hot streak with a goal at 3:14. What followed was a back-and-forth affair that ended with a 3-2 overtime win for Holy Cross, the first time the Air Force had been on the losing end of extra time this season.

“It was death by 1,000 cuts,” coach Frank Serratore told Xtra Sports Radio. “We weren’t sharp in a multitude of areas.”

After falling to the AHA’s last-place team, Serratore said he won’t dwell much on the game. And he doesn’t want his players to either.

“We’re not going to over analyze this,” he said. “We are going to find some things that can help our guys tomorrow, but the biggest thing is for them to get their stretches in, get a bite to eat, and go get a good night’s sleep.”

Jack Ricketts opened the game with a goal for Holy Cross, before Will Gavin evened things up, scoring his seventh goal of the last six games, and his 14th of the season. The sophomore leads the league in goals per game at 0.52.

AFA had chances to extend its lead at the end of the first period, as the Falcons went on the game’s first power play. They peppered Holy Cross goalie Erik Gordon with four shots, but the senior managed to stop the puck each time.

The Falcons finished out their power play in the second frame, but were unable to capitalize. Then, a few minutes later they got another chance.

Jack Hillman was whistled for boarding and assessed a five-minute major, sending AFA on another power play.

Once again Holy Cross was able to emerge from the unscathed penalty.

“(In that situation) you better find a way to get a goal,” Serratore said. “And we didn’t.”

The Falcons were called up for two penalties during the second period, but killed both of Holy Cross’ chances. By the end of the second, the two teams were still even, despite AFA holding a slight shot advantage, 28-21.

AFA didn’t have to wait long in the third period to take the lead. After two saves from Alex Schilling, Willie Reim found himself with the puck streaking up the right side of the ice. He worked his way toward the Holy Cross goal, and with just 1:39 gone by in the frame, found the back of the net for a 2-1 AFA lead.

But the advantage was short-lived.

“We gave up the lead today, and Lady Luck wasn’t on our side,” Serratore said.

Matt Slick tied the game with 11 minutes left in regulation. With the score knotted at 2, Schilling fended off the Holy Cross attack, to send it to overtime. The Crusaders outshot the Falcons 15-9 in the third frame, and Schilling made a save with 11 seconds remaining to ensure AFA had a chance in extra time.

But the chance wasn’t taken when it needed to be, and instead Anthony Vincent finished things off for the Crusaders, who secured the overtime victory.

“As chaotic as things were in our zone at times, I thought Schilling stayed calm,” Serratore said. “Actually I felt comfortable going into overtime and comfortable going into a shootout, because mentally he was there and he had been by far our best player.”

Schilling finished with 36 saves.

The Falcons get another shot at Holy Cross on Saturday at 5:05 pm With five games left on the schedule, AFA is looking to secure a top-6 finish in the standings in order to earn a first-round playoff bye.


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