Air Force scored three goals in the first period and held off AIC for a 4-2 win in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Olympia Ice Center in Springfield, Mass. The Falcons swept the two-game league.
Air Force improved to 9-4-1 overall and 7-4-1 in the league. AIC fell to 2-8-2 overall and 2-6-1 in the AHA.
For the second straight night, Air Force jumped ahead of AIC and also scored a shorthanded goal in the period. Freshman Blake Page put the Falcons on the board at the 2:15 mark on an odd-man rush. Fellow freshman Scott Kozlak led the rush down the right wing and his shot was saved by Dan Ramirez. Page cleaned up the rebound for his second goal of the season. Air Force clung to the one-goal lead until the Falcons scored two in the final five minutes. The top line of Eric Ehn, Josh Frider and Brent Olson gave the Falcons a 2-0 lead at the 14:29 mark. Ehn won a faceoff in the offensive end and Frider gave the puck to Olson at the top of the crease. Olson netted his third goal of the series and his fifth of the season. Three minutes later, freshman Owen Kelly gave AFA a 3-0 lead with a short-handed goal. Kelly skated the puck through the neutral zone and into the AIC end. His wrister from the left circle went five-hole on Ramirez and then trickled over the goal line.
Neither team scored in the second period as Air Force out-shot AIC, 10-5, in the period. Each team had two power-plays in the period, but were unable to score.
AIC made the game interesting with two power-play goals in the third period. The Yellow Jackets scored at the 2:36 mark of the third period on a power-play goal by Chad Richardson. His slap shot from the left circle was assisted by Chris Bolognino and Steve McLeod. AFA increased its lead to 4-1 when Matt Charbonneau scored on the power play at 9:47 of the third. Jeff Hajner fed Greg Flynn at the left point who slid the puck over to the right point. Charbonneau’s slap shot through traffic found the back of the net for his second goal of the year. AIC answered just over a minute later when Bolognino scored on the power play from Richardson. The Yellow Jackets pulled the goalie for the final 1:15 and even had a brief two-man advantage after an Air Force penalty, but the Falcons came away unscathed.
AFA out-shot AIC, 33-20. The Falcons were 1-for-5 on the power play while AIC was 2-for-7. Volkening made 18 saves for the Falcons while Ramirez had 29 saves for AIC.
“We talked about coming out with knockout punch early and we did as close to that as we possibly could have,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “We could not get the next one and then they did. Charbonneau’s goal was huge for us. I give them credit for not quitting they stayed with it. We need to keep things going next weekend against Canisius.”
Air Force returns home to host a two-game series with Canisius, Friday-Saturday, Dec. 7-8, at the Cadet Ice Arena.