Greg Flynn scored two goals and Air Force scored five times on the power play as the 12th-ranked Falcons swept Sacred Heart with a 7-1 win on Saturday, Nov. 22, in an Atlantic Hockey Association game in front of a sellout crowd of 2,731 at the Academy’s Cadet Ice Arena.
Air Force remained perfect at 12-0 on the season, the only undefeated and untied team in the nation. The Falcons are in first place in the AHA with 20 points and a 10-0-0 record. Canisius, Bentley and RIT are tied for second with nine points. Air Force’s 12-game winning streak is a new school record. The team has won 11 straight conference games dating back to last season and nine-straight home games vs. Division I teams, both new school records.
Sacred Heart fell to 2-8-2 overall and 2-6-2 in the AHA.
In the first 10 minutes of the game, Sacred Heart outshot Air Force, 7-3, but Andrew Volkening kept the net clean. Air Force also killed two power plays in the first eight minutes. When Air Force got its first power play, the Falcons capitalized. Greg Flynn’s power-play blast from the point gave Air Force a 1-0 lead. Jeff Hajner and Tim Kirby assisted on the play. With 3:02 left in the first period, freshman defenseman Scott Mathis scored his first career goal on the power play. He redirected a pass from Mike Phillipich for a 2-0 lead.
Early in the second period, Jeff Hajner scored the third power-play goal of the game from Flynn and Derrick Burnett. His wrister from the high slot gave the Falcons a 3-0 lead. SHU got on the board at the 7:11 mark of the second period on a goal by Matt Gingera. Nick Johnson’s centering pass gave Gingera some open net in front for the only goal AFA allowed in the game. The Falcons answered with 2:20 left in the period, again on the power play. Flynn’s wrister from the high slot was his second of the game and fourth of the season. Hajner and Matt Fairchild assisted on the play.
Just 2:29 into the third period, Air Force was a perfect 5-for-5 on the power play as Brett Nylander scored from Flynn and Fairchild. Nylander’s second goal of the season was a rebound of Flynn’s point shot. Air Force scored two even-strength goals to round out the scoring. Phillipich scored his fourth of the season from Jacques Lamoureux and Paul Weisgarber. Weisgarber drove around the net and fed Phillipich in front at the 4:12 mark. With 3:00 left in the game, Michael Mayra made a perfect centering pass to Olson who was skating full speed toward the net. Olson tipped the puck past Stefan Drew for a 7-1 advantage.
Air Force was 5-for-6 on the power play while Sacred Heart was 0-for-3. AFA outshot SHU, 34-27. Volkening made 26 saves for Air Force while Drew made 27 for the Pioneers.
“Special teams and goaltending were the keys,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “Sacred Heart was a much more difficult team to play against tonight. We were not as sharp as we were last night, but we out-special teamed them and out-goaltended them. This now makes for an interesting weekend next week (Colorado College and Denver). Now we get to find out if we are for real next week when we take on two of the top teams in the nation. These games are important, but our No. 1 goal is to win the league playoffs and go to the NCAA Tournament. Our No. 2 goal is to win the regular season league title. Our No. 3 goal is to sweep the Army series. Not only is it Army, but four league points are on the line. Then comes this weekend vs. CC and Denver.”
Air Force hosts No. 3 Colorado College on Friday, Nov. 28, at 7:05 p.m. at the Cadet Ice Arena. AFA then travels up I-25 to face 10th-ranked Denver, Saturday, Nov. 29, at 7:07 p.m.