Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee Violet Turtle Photography
AIC has won most of its games when they were the better team. In the series opener, their opponent, Sacred Heart, got more chances, but Eric Lang’s group still prevailed in the end. Lang’s group was outshot 31-18 and had to kill off multiple penalties into the third including two full minutes of five on three time. In the third they only conceded one goal.
Lang said of the win “Very good teams find different ways to win games. Tonight we checked a box where our will had to get us to the finish line.” To put the game away, that will was punctuated by Austen Long who iced it with an empty netter. He and Eric Otto were integral parts of the penalty kill which came up big in the series opener. Lang said of Otto “Eric Otto was beyond brilliant. Heartbeat of our hockey team tonight.”Of his penalty kill winning the game, and it’s architect, Assistant Coach Matthew Woodard, Lang said “Amazing. Hats off to the gutsy effort and Woody had a tremendous plan.”
Lang was happy with the will, but wants his team to stay out of the box. They took four penalties resulting in power plays in the third. As Lang said “ When you have the lead in the 3rd you can’t take penalties. Period. Stop. “
Of defender Brian Kramer, who Lang has consistently praised, Lang said “ BK since we got back from Christmas has been elite. His brain,compete, and skill are as good as any defenseman in this league.” Kramer scored the winning goal for the Yellow Jackets in the second period.
AIC plays the series finale at 1 PM Eastern time against a team that outplayed them in transition in terms of shots generated. The team leads a very tight Atlantic Hockey Association race by six points.