VESTAL (WBNG BINGHAMTON) Binghamton (2-5, 0-0 AE) lost a tightly contested non-conference game on Sunday, dropping a 10-8 contest to visiting Air Force (5-3, 1-0 ECAC) at the Bearcats Sports Complex. Binghamton made a late rally in the third quarter to tie things up at eight goals apeice but were held scoreless in the final quarter of action.
Senior goalie Max Schefler made a season-high 16 saves and captain Mike Antinozzi netted a hat trick for the Bearcats who have lost three straight.
Air Force opened up the scoring on Sunday, but Binghamton was able to respond with a pair of goals of their own. The first tally came from freshman Tyler Deluca with nine minutes remaining in the first. Deluca was fed by junior Emmett O’Hara and slung a low liner past goalkeeper Brett Dadiego. Less than a minute later, it was Antinozzi who found the back of the net on a laser shot from 10 yards out.
Tied at 2-2, Antinozzi netted his second score of the game off the swing pass from Johnny Maher to take the one-goal lead with just over five minutes left in the the first. The Falcons scored with just five seconds left in the quarter to pull even at 3-3 heading to the second.
The visitors, who play out of the ECAC, notched two more goals to take a 5-3 lead with just about four minutes left in the second. However, Antinozzi stopped the mini-run, bouncing a shot past Dadiego for his third goal of the game. The visitors tacked on a late man-up goal by Kyle Cassady to go ahead 6-4 at the break.
AFA had the advantage in both shots (25-11) and faceoffs (9-12) following the first 30 minutes of play. Schefler was excellent in the first half, making 10 stops in total.
Both teams traded goals to begin the third before Binghamton started to push their way back. A nice find from Antinozzi resulted in a accurate finish from senior Matt Springer to cut their deficit to two, 8-6. On their next possession, Tucker Nelson sent a skip pass to junior attack Paul O’Donnell who would not be denied from long range. With 1:11 left in the third, Kelly Donigan evened the score at 8-8 with his goal off the give from Nelson.
The fourth quarter was a defensive battle as neither team found the back of the net for the initial 12-plus minutes. Air Force leading scorer Tommy McKee notched his hat trick with his go-ahead score at the 2:38 mark. Over a minute later, with Binghamton pressing for a turnover, AFA scored off a quick restart that sealed the game at 10-8.
Antinozzi paced Binghamton with three goals and one assist and three players (Tucker Nelson, Johnny Maher and Matt Springer) each recorded two points on the afternoon. The Bearcats collected eight assists on eight goals and went 1-for-2 on man-up opportunities.
Shawn Needham continued his stellar play on defense, knocking the ball out four times against the Falcons. Needham, who currently ranks in the top-20 in the country in caused turnovers, also picked up a team-best three ground balls. Freshman Tyler Deluca scored for the second straight game and Nelson extended his multi-point scoring streak to seven games.
BU will have six days off before their next game which also happens to be the America East conference opener on the road at Hartford. The Hawks are an even 4-4 on the season and just recently had their two-game winning streak snapped in a 12-6 loss at #11 UMass. The game in West Hartford, Conn. starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday and can be seen on www.americaeast.tv.
(Courtesy: Binghamton University)