On an evening when Air Force wore black jerseys honoring the U.S. Space Force, the Falcons just about earned a win of galactic proportions.
But they ran out of rocket gasoline towards the tip.
Air Force tied No. 11 Notre Dame 5-5 after leading by three goals within the 3rd duration. The draw — on day two of the Ice Breaker Tournament at Cadet Ice Arena — moved the Falcons to 0-1-1.
“We were the better team tonight; we just couldn’t find a way to finish the game,” Air Force trainer Frank Serratore mentioned. “The outright win was right there for us.”
An efficient power play helped the Falcons initiate their launch early in the game.
Air Force went 3-for-3 with a man advantage, as Nate Horn scored two power-play goals and Brandon Koch had one. Air Force also scored a power-play goal in Friday’s loss to Maine, making the Falcons 4-for-7 on the power play in two games thus far.
“Against a team like this, you have to capitalize on the chances they give you,” Horn mentioned. “Luckily tonight, we helped ourselves out with some power-play goals and our kill has been really good.”
Serratore added, “Our special teams were pretty darn good tonight.”
Horn’s first power-play target got here 8 mins into the primary duration. The Falcons then outscored Notre Dame 3-1 in the second one duration.
Horn had his 2nd target and Koch and Luke Rowe joined the scoring sheet, giving Air Force a 4-1 lead heading into the 3rd duration.
That three-goal cushion, although, proved no longer big enough.
ND’s Solag Bakich scored six mins into the 3rd duration. Then Trevor Janicke netted a target to make it 4-3.
Air Force had a right away resolution to Janicke’s target, then again, as Bennett Norlin scored and expanded the Falcons’ cushion to 2 goals.
Serratore idea Norlin’s resolution can be sufficient for his staff to safe a legislation win.
“I thought we’d get the next one, and it didn’t turn out that way,” Serratore mentioned.
The Fighting Irish had a right away resolution of their very own.
Less than a minute after Norlin’s target, Notre Dame’s Jake Boltmann scored, as soon as once more making it a one-goal sport. And with 1:12 closing, Notre Dame’s Ryder Rolston scored, tying the sport for the primary time because the first duration.
Neither staff scored in the rest 1:12 or the extra time duration, making the sport a tie, by rule. The groups did, then again, play a shootout, which Air Force received.
Though it doesn’t rely within the win column, beating the Fighting Irish felt just right for the Falcons after their dismal 3rd duration.
(*11*) Horn mentioned. “You don’t get to play a team like that every weekend, so it’s one of those games we’ll remember 20 years from now.
“The moral victory does matter.”
Even after Notre Dame outscored Air Force 4-1 within the 3rd duration, the Falcons noticed Saturday’s sport as a big development from Friday’s 4-1 loss to Maine.
After defensive lapses and offensive inefficiency outlined Friday’s season opener, Saturday used to be a step in the appropriate route.
“We had an outright victory that got away, and that stings a little bit, but it doesn’t sting as poorly as how badly we got outplayed by Maine,” Serratore mentioned.
Air Force travels to Lindenwood this week for its first street sequence, which starts Friday. Though 0-4, Lindenwood put in combination robust showings against Minnesota and Michigan, either one of that are top-10 squads.
After two robust classes and an general higher efficiency Saturday, the Falcons will glance to stick in orbit against the Lions.
“We’ll find out about this weekend,” Serratore mentioned. “Can we sustain that and take another step next weekend? If we do, then all of this is worth it.”
Horn mentioned, “They’ve shown they’re a really good team this year, so we have to see where this tie — win-ish — takes us.”