Feb. 26, 2005
WEST POINT, N.Y. -Ryan Cruthers scored twice in the third period, including the equalizer with 34 seconds left in regulation to help Army earn a 3-3 overtime tie against visiting American International College in front of a sold out Tate Rink crowd of 2,733 Saturday night.
Army (10-18-3, 5-14-3 Atlantic Hockey) remains two points ahead of AIC (4-21-3, 4-15-3) in the league standings. The Black Knights gained one point on seventh-place Bentley, which lost 2-1 at Canisius. Army is three points behind the Falcons heading into the final weekend of the regular season next Friday and Saturday.
Trailing 2-0 in the final period, the Black Knights began their comeback when the Yellow Jackets were whistled for two tripping calls 49 seconds apart. Robb Ross scored the first goal with a 5-on-3 advantage. Cruthers then potted the first of his two third-period tallies 51 seconds later with Army still on a power play from the second tripping infraction.
However, AIC would not quit. The Jackets' C.J. McConnell finished off a 2-on-1 break at 13:45 to give the visitors a 3-2 lead.
Army head coach Brian Riley pulled goaltender Brad Roberts in the final minute of regulation for an extra attacker. Seth Beamer, standing along the near wall, centered the puck into the slot area with 34 seconds remaining in the game, and Cruthers miraculously got his stick on the pass and re-directed the rubber disc past AIC goalie Frank Novello to tie the game at 3-3.
The two teams played a scoreless five-minute overtime.
Novello was nothing short of spectacular between the pipes for AIC. The senior netminder made 46 saves as Army outshot its opponent, 49-24. Roberts made 21 saves for the Black Knights.
AIC had taken a 2-0 lead on a power play goal by Ron Miller in the first period and a goal by Mark Pavli two minutes into the third.
The Black Knights had an opportunity to tie the game in the opening frame when they were awarded a penalty shot with 4:27 left when an AIC defender purposely knocked the net off its moorings as Army was applying pressure. However, Chase Podsiad missed the penalty shot.
Cruthers finished with two goals and Ross chipped in one goal and one assist on Senior Night at Tate Rink.
Army will close out the regular-season portion of its schedule next Friday and Saturday with a two-game series at Canisius. Friday's contest is a 7 p.m. start with Saturday slated for a matinee at 3 p.m.