3/17/2008 - ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AFPN) -- Josh Frider's goal 56 seconds into the second overtime lifted the U.S. Air Force Academy to a 5-4 win over Mercyhurst College in the championship game of the Atlantic Hockey Association Tournament March 16 at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester.
With the win, the Air Force (21-11-6) won its second consecutive AHA championship and earns the automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Air Force, the No. 3 seed in the tournament, will play in one of the four regionals March 28 through 30. The opponent and site will be determined on Selection Sunday, March 23. The Academy, with a record of 21 wins, 11 loses and six ties, is the first AHA team to ever win back-to-back titles.
The Falcons broke the scoreless tie with 1.9 seconds left in the first period. Midway through the period, the Air Force killed off 34 seconds of a five-on-three power play. Then, with 21 seconds left, Mercyhurst was called for charging, putting the Falcons on the power-play. Mike Phillipich took a shot fro the slot that was saved, but Brent Olson collected it on the right side. His tough-angle shot from near the goal line went in for a 1-0 lead.
The Falcons took a 2-0 lead in the second period when Frank Schiavone scored with a shot from the center point at the 13:23. Scott Kozlak made a no-look pass from the goal line to Schiavone, who netted his fifth of the season.
However, the final three minutes of the period was all Mercyhurst as the Lakers scored twice on back-to-back penalties.
A wild third period saw Mercyhurst twice take the lead, only to have the Academy tie the game each time with goals by senior Josh Schaffer and Josh Frider.
Each team had chances late in the game, but it was the Lakers that had the final opportunity in regulation and goalie Andrew Volkening made a save as the buzzer sounded, forcing overtime.
In the first overtime, each team had 12 shots on goal. Mercyhurst had several odd-man rushes that were poked away by Falcon defensemen or saved by Volkening.
In the second overtime, Olson skated the puck down the right side and took a shot that was saved. Frider cleaned up the rebound for his second goal of the game and his 13th of the season.
Mercyhurst outshot Air Force, 53-47, in the game. Volkening made a career-high 49 saves. The Academy was one-for-six on the power play.