No. 17 Fairfield Edge Air Force to Clinch an ECAC Berth

USAFA, Colo. – A late fourth-quarter rally fell short as the Air Force lacrosse team dropped a 12-10 decision to 17th-ranked conference foe Fairfield Saturday afternoon at Falcon Stadium.

The Falcons (6-5, 1-3 ECAC) overcame an 11-7 deficit by scoring three goals in the final five minutes of the contest, including a score from sophomore Tommy McKee (Holt, Mich.) with 1:56 remaining that cut the margin to a single point. However, the Stags were able to push their lead back to two goals with an empty-net goal by Sam Snow with 48 seconds left on the clock.

Fairfield (10-2, 3-1) got off to a strong start, taking a 3-0 lead just over five minutes into the contest. Freshman Tom Burgess (Watertown, N.Y.) was first to get Air Force on the board with an unassisted goal at the 7:04 mark in the opening period, but the Stags responded with two more goals to take a 5-1 advantage. However, the Falcons closed out the quarter with two straight scores, including a goal from Keith Dreyer (Fr., Malvern, Pa.) with just seven seconds on the clock.

The Falcons continued their momentum early in the second stanza, getting on the board 30 seconds into the period with a goal from Mike Crampton (So., Kinnelon, N.J.) to get within a single point. However, Fairfield goalkeeper Charlie Cipriano came up with several big stops to keep Air Force out of the net for the remainder of the period, while the Stags tacked on three more goals to take an 8-4 lead at the half.

In the third period, Air Force got back within two goals with scores from Adam Paranka (Sr., Denver, Colo.) and Kyle O'Brien (Fr., Denver, Colo.), but a man-up goal from the Stags pushed the margin back to three. Fairfield went on to score two of the first three goals of the final stanza to earn its 11-7 lead with 11:36 to play.

McKee, who notched a hat trick for the second-straight game, led Air Force with three goals, while Crampton, O'Brien, Kyle Cassady (So., Upper Arlington, Ohio) and Marcus Walker (So., Denver, Colo.) each finished with a goal and an assist. Meanwhile, Snow registered three goals and two assists for the Stags, while Tristan Sperry notched a game-high four goals.

Although the Falcons outshot the Stags, 45-27, for the game, Air Force was hurt by its inability to score on the EMO, going 0 of 5 on man-up opportunities. In addition, Fairfield got outstanding play between the pipes from Cipriano, who was credited with 16 saves, including six in the fourth quarter. The Stags also held a slight advantage at the face-off X, winning 14 of 26 for the game, including 6 of 8 in the final period.

Air Force returns to action next week, April 21, when they visit ECAC opponent Ohio State in the “Showdown in the Shoe.” The contest, which is slated to begin at 11:00 a.m. (ET), will be held prior to the Buckeyes' spring football game in Ohio Stadium.

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No. 17 Fairfield reached double digits in wins for the first time since 2005 and clinched a berth in the ECAC tournament with a 12-10 victory over host Air Force this afternoon at Falcon Stadium. The Stags improve to 10-2 on the year and 3-1 in league play, while the Falcons fall to 6-5 overall and 1-3 in ECAC action.

The Falcons scored three straight goals in a 2:41 span to close a four-goal deficit to just one, 11-10, with 1:56 to play in the game. Air Force won the ensuing face-off and put a shot on net with 87 seconds remaining but Charlie Cipriano made his season-best equaling 16th save of the game to turn the Falcons away.

Fairfield would successfully clear the ball and Sam Snow would net his third tally of the game to give the Stags a two-goal cushion with 48 seconds remaining. Michael Row would win the final face-off, his 12th of the game, to seal the win.

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