A fourth period surge propelled Jacksonville past Air Force, 13-12, in Southern Conference action, Saturday afternoon, at D.B. Milne Field, in Jacksonville, Florida. The Falcons, now 4-8 with a 2-2 mark in conference, posted their first loss to the Dolphins as conference foes. Sophomore attacker Trey Lervick registered his second hat trick of the season in the effort.
The Dolphins jumped out to an early lead, notching three goals by the 6:11 mark. Lervick was the first Falcon to light up the scoreboard with a feed from sophomore teammate, Matthew Schwartz in a man-up situation with 1:48 remaining. With just six-seconds on the ticker in the first period, Jake Thornally found team captain Nick Hruby open for the shot which he converted for the Falcons’ second goal of the game.
At the 11:50 mark in the second period, Air Force defenseman Roland Wheeler IV took it upon himself to attack a vulnerable Dolphin cage, notching his first career goal with the equalizer. Jacksonville quickly regained the lead as Gavin Legg punched a goal in 10-seconds after the face off. Air Force battled back into the game with two-straight goals for the lead. Senior Andrew Tien put his name on the scorecard with an unassisted goal at the 10:20 mark, followed by sophomore attack man Chet Dunstan ’s fifth goal of the season by way of Hruby’s assist at the 8:02 mark. Chicquen McLean of Jacksonville responded with the tying goal at 6:29. Air Force rebutted with two more goals before the end of the half. Lervick netted his second goal via Schwartz’s feed at 4:24, followed by Cameron Carter ’s first goal of the game with seven-seconds remaining, giving the Falcons a 7-5 lead going into the half.
The Falcons and Dolphins went back-and-forth in the third period with Jacksonville coming out on top, three goals to Air Force’s two. Hruby notched his second goal of the game, 23rd of the season, in an unassisted attack at the 8:27 mark. Thornally notched his second career goal via Hruby’s second assist with 2:50 remaining in the period. The Falcons lead the Dolphins by one goal, 9-8, going into the final period of play.
The teams put up eight goals in the fourth period with Jacksonville registering four-straight from the opening of the period to the 8:23 mark, taking a three-goal lead, 12-9. Determined to keep the game from getting out of hand, Thornally fed Lervick with his hat trick goal at the 6:04 mark, narrowing the deficit to two goals. The Dolphins’ Eric Applegate added one more to score sheet at 4:18, giving the Dolphins another three-goal lead.
After a short lightning delay, the Falcons returned to the field with a jolt of energy as Tien and Carter each notched their second goals of the game, brining Air Force within one goal of the equalizer with over two-minutes on the clock. Jacksonville rose to the occasion and fended off the Air Force attack, sealing the deal, 13-12.
Air Force returns home for league play against Furman, Apr. 14, at noon (MT). The Falcons and Paladins will meet for the fifth time in program history; the Falcons lead the series, 3-1. Air Force is looking to redeem last season’s loss as Furman edged by Air Force, 8-7, in Greenville, S.C.