Air Force Rallies Past Army for Overtime Victory

HOUSTON, Texas Sophomore Erik Smith (Golden, Colo.) tallied the game-winner seven seconds into overtime to lead Air Force to a 9-8 victory over Army Saturday afternoon in a neutral-site contest at The Kinkaid School. With the win, the Falcons, who have won three in a row, improve to 3-2 on the season, while the Black Knights drop to 3-4.

Smith, who finished the game with two goals and an assist, won the opening face-off of the overtime period and ran down the field for the winning goal. It marked the second Air Force goal in a span of 13 seconds, as Tommy McKee (So., Holt, Mich.) got on the board for the Falcons with just six seconds remaining in regulation to force the extra period.

Army, receiving votes in the latest coaches' poll, led for much of the game, taking a 2-0 lead to start the first quarter, and holding a 3-1 advantage before Air Force ended the opening period with a pair of scores. The Black Knights pushed their advantage back to two goals in the second period, but the first goal of the season from sophomore Michael Curran (North Brunswick, N.J.) brought Air Force back within one point going into the intermission.

Air Force outscored Army, 2-1, in the third period to bring the score to 6-6 going into the final stanza. Freshman Ryland De Pol (Riva, Md.) gave the Falcons their first advantage of the contest midway through the fourth quarter with a man-up goal assisted by McKee, but the Black Knights scored the next two tallies to take an 8-7 lead with just over two minutes remaining.

While Army won the face-off after their eighth goal of the game, Air Force was able to pressure the Black Knights into a turnover, taking over possession with just over a minute to play. A shot by the Falcons in the final 10 seconds was stopped by Army goalkeeper Zach Palmieri, but McKee was able to scoop up the loose ball and get it into the net.

Air Force, which has been stellar on the EMO all season, struggled with their man-up offense against Army, scoring on just 2 of 8 man-up opportunities. The Falcons were also outshot by the Black Knights and won just 7 of 19 face-offs in the game. However, goalkeeper Austin Fox (Jr., Webster, N.Y.) had a solid performance between the pipes, stopping a career-high 13 shots.

Today's game marks just the second-ever victory by the Falcons over the Black Knights. In the last meeting between the two teams, Air Force escaped with an 8-7 overtime win over Army in Colorado. Prior to that game in 2010, the Black Knights had won all Air Force-Army match-ups.

The Falcons open up their 2012 ECAC slate next weekend, March 17, when they visit ninth-ranked Loyola.

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HOUSTON, Texas Air Force sophomore midfielder Erik Smith won the opening face-off of overtime and scored the game-winning goal himself just seven seconds into the extra session, as the Falcons rallied to a 9-8 win over Army on a chilly Saturday afternoon at Barnhart Stadium on the campus of The Kinkaid School.

Senior long stick midfielder Tim Henderson's lazer with 2:14 to play in the game gave the Black Knights an 8-7 advantage, but Air Force (3-2) would force overtime with its eighth goal of the game thanks to Tommy McKee with just six seconds left in regulation. The teams broke before starting the overtime period and it was Air Force's Smith coming up with the heroic finish in front of a crowd of more than 2,500 spectators on the collegiate preparatory school campus.

Junior attackman Garrett Thul and senior attackman Conor Hayes paced Army (3-4) with two goals apiece. Henderson, senior middie Devin Lynch, junior attackman Andrew Boyd and junior middie Pat Brennan each scored single goals in the setback. Senior goalkeeper Zach Palmieri made 10 saves.

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