Hockey: UConn scores 3-2 win over Air Force

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Michael Coppola's short-handed breakaway goal 40 seconds into the overtime period gave UConn a 3-2 win over Air Force in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Nov. 17 at the Academy's Cadet Ice Arena.

A season-high attendance of 2,136 saw the Falcons fall to 6-4 overall and 4-4 in the AHA. Meanwhile, UConn improved to 3-6 overall and 3-5 in the league. The two teams split the series as Air Force won 3-2 in regulation Nov. 16.

The Huskies scored 2:06 into the game on a goal by Chris Ochoa. Sean Erickson passed to Ochoa on the right wing and his wrister from the top of the right circle gave UConn a 1-0 lead.

Air Force scored two goals in a span of four minutes in the second period for a 2-1 lead. Senior defenseman Frank Schiavone tied the game at the 1:27 mark of the second period with a 4-on-4 goal. Scott Kozlak forced a turnover in the neutral zone and Schiavone took the puck down the left wing. His slap shot beat Beau Erickson high for Schiavone's second goal of the season. Jeff Hajner gave the Falcons a 2-1 lead at the 5:50 mark from Eric Ehn and Matt Charbonneau. In another 4-on-4 situation, Ehn made a pass from the right wing to Hajner in the slot for his third goal of the season.

Just over three minutes later, UConn tied the game on Jason Krispel's goal from Coppola and Ochoa. Air Force turned the puck over deep in its own end and Ochoa stick-handled past two Falcons. He then fed Krispel for his first career goal.

Air Force held a 23-10 shot advantage through the first two periods, but the game was tied entering the third. UConn out-shot Air Force, 10-6, in the third but neither team scored, sending the game into overtime. With five seconds left in regulation, UConn's Michael Olmstead was called for slashing and Air Force began the overtime period on the power play.

However, it was UConn that would capitalize. Air Force had the puck in the offensive end early in the period. UConn's Matt Miller battled for a puck along the left boards and pushed the puck up to Erickson. Coppola raced past an Air Force defenseman and Erickson made an outlet pass. Coppola skated down the center of the ice uncontested on the goaltender Andrew Volkening. Coppola's wrister beat Volkening to end the game and give the Huskies a 3-2 win. Coppola's shot was the only one of overtime.

Air Force outshot UConn, 29-21, in the game. AFA was 0-for-8 on the power play while UConn was 0-for-6. Volkening made 18 saves for Air Force. Beau Erickson made 27 for the Huskies.

"A gut-wrenching loss," head coach Frank Serratore said. "This is one of those losses that you carry for life. To go into overtime and lose the way we did is hard. The bottom line is that we are an average team right now that is because of our power play. It is horrible. We had a better effort tonight than we did last night, but they capitalized on our turnovers and our power play was atrocious."

The Falcons return to the home ice with a two-game series against Holy Cross Nov. 23 and 24 at the Cadet Ice Arena.

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