Jacques Lamoureux’s second hat trick of the season led Air Force to a 4-1 win over UConn in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Saturday, Feb. 7, at the Academy’s Cadet Ice Arena. A crowd of 3,206 extended AFA’s school-record sellout streak to six games. The sellout was also the ninth of the season, setting an Academy record for all sports. The men’s basketball team also had eight sellouts in 2006-07.
With the series sweep, Air Force remained in first place in the league with a 19-7-2 overall record and a 16-4-2 AHA record. The Falcons are one point ahead of second place RIT. UConn fell to 6-22-1 overall and 5-15-1 in the league.
The game was scoreless until early in the second period when Lamoureux scored at the 1:43 mark. Scott Mathis took a shot from the left point that was saved by Beau Erickson. Lamoureux cleaned up the rebound and zipped a wrister over the shoulder of Erickson for a 1-0 lead. Less than two minutes later, UConn answered on the power play. Chris Waterstradt took a shot from the center point that was saved by Andrew Volkening. However, the puck slid under his right arm and was free in the crease. Matt Pedemonti scored his second of the series on the back door.
Lamoureux broke the 1-1 tie at 5:32 of the third period on the rush. Brad Sellers tipped a loose puck in the neutral zone to Lamoureux on the blue line. The sophomore center skated down the right side, made a move to get Erickson out of position and slid the puck into the net for a 2-1 lead. Air Force then scored two empty-net goals in the final minute. Air Force was on the power play when UConn pulled Erickson in favor of the extra skater. With 58 seconds left, Lamoureux scored his third of the game into the empty from Michael Mayra and Josh Frider. Then, with nine seconds left and UConn with an empty-net, Greg Flynn gave the puck to Sean Bertsch who scored his second of the series and sixth of the season.
Air Force outshot UConn, 36-20, in the game, including a 14-5 advantage in the third period. Air Force was 1-for-5 on the power play while UConn was 1-for-3. Erickson made 32 saves while Volkening made 19.
“It was a hard fought game,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “UConn is so much better than their record shows. They might be the best defensive team we’ve played against all year. They played us dead even and didn’t give us a lot of chance. We were fortunate the puck popped loose and Jacque scored early in the third. That is a team I would not look forward to playing again. You know what I liked about our team, we didn’t wish our way through the final 10 minutes. We worked and played our way through it. I really liked our approach. The guys were focused. The turning point was a blocked shot Phillipich late in the game. If he backs off, that puck could have gone in, but instead our captain made a play. The third period tonight might be the best we played all year. The fourth line was our best line of the weekend with Weisgarber, Bertsch and Phillipich. There was a lot of energy in the crowd and they got to see a very good game. And then at the end, the class of Greg Flynn dropping the puck off to Sean Bertsch. What an unselfish play and that tells you a lot about the kind of man Greg Flynn is.”
Air Force is on the road next week with a two-game AHA series at Bentley, Feb. 13-14, in Waltham, Mass.
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