Mountain Lions Play Even with Falcons Until the End

published August 18, 2001

For 88 minutes and 14 seconds, the NCAA Division II University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Mountain Lions were the equal of the Division I Air Force Falcons.

Playing in an unconventional format in which the teams played four 25-minute periods instead of the normal two 45-minutes halves, the Mountain Lions and the Falcons stood scoreless through three periods. Then, at the 88:47 mark, Air Force junior Paul Gagliardi broke the tie after taking a pass from Thomas Clark.

Clark would add a pair of goals in the game's final minutes as Air Force's superior conditioning combined with the inexperience of the freshmen and transfer students that Mountain Lions coach Eddy Dietz had inserted into the game to lift the Falcons to a 3-0 decision.

"It was a good test for us," said UCCS defenseman Justin Behar. "They're a Division I team and we hung with them for nearly 90 minutes."

Air Force outshot UCCS 10-2 during the decisive final period.

Clark scored the Falcons' second goal at 90:55, when Mountain Lions goalkeeper Mike Archuleta stopped Clark on a breakway only to watch helplessly as Clark collected the rebound and scored. Clark added a final goal with 11 seconds remaining.

"The flow of the game was pretty even until the end," Behar said. "We believe we can play with any team in the nation.

"We can only go forward from here."

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