Air Force Hockey headed to NCAA Tournament

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Andrew Ramsey and Josh Frider each scored two goals as Air Force beat Army, 6-1, in the championship game of the Atlantic Hockey Association Tournament, Saturday, March 17, at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y.

With the win, Air Force clinches its first ever conference tournament championship and, for the first time in school history, advances to the NCAA Tournament. The Falcons' opponent, site and time will be determined on Selection Sunday which will be televised nationally on ESPN2, Sunday, March 18, at 12:30 pm MT.

Sophomore winger Mike Phillipich was named the tournament's most valuable player as he had two goals and three assists in the tournament. He scored Air Force's first goal of the night to give the Falcons a lead they would never relinquish. He then assisted on Ramsey's game-winner midway through the second period.

After a scoreless first period, Air Force scored twice in a span of three minutes in the second period. In the first five minutes of the second period, Army was all over Air Force. The Black Knights went on the power early in the second and fired shots from all over the ice. Army out-shot Air Force, 10-0, in the first five minutes of the second period.

Phillipich gave the Falcons a 1-0 lead at the 4:26 mark from Ramsey and Eric Ehn. Three minutes later, Ramsey's power play goal gave the Falcons a 2-0 lead.

AFA entered the third period with the two-goal lead and extended the lead to 3-0 on two goals by Frider. His first came on a breakaway at the 4:39 mark of the third period from Brian Reese and Greg Flynn. His second goal came at 9:33 on a rebound of Billy Devoney's point shot.

Army broke up the shutout at the 12:59 mark with a power-play goal from Tim Manthey. The Falcons answered with two more goals to put the game away. Josh Print led a 2-on-1 breakaway and Josh Schaffer finished for a 5-1 lead at 15:25. With 2:45 remaining, Ramsey scored his second of the game and 22nd of the season from Phillipich and Michael Mayra.

AFA out-shot Army, 27-24, in the game. AFA was 2-for-5 on the power play while Army was 1-for-5.

Freshman goalie Andrew Volkening got the start and responded by stopping 23 of the 24 shots he faced. He stopped five power-play shots early in the second period when the score was tied at 0-0.

The Falcons will head to the NCAA Tournament next weekend, but the date, time and opponent are yet to be determined.

"This is a dream come true," head coach Frank Serratore said as he earned his first conference championship and takes his first team to an NCAA Tournament. "Yesterday we were 55 seconds from being eliminated and today we win a conference championship. The kids played a great game. I give the kids from Army a lot of credit. They are such a difficult team to play against. Along with RIT, they are the most well-coached team in the league. Brian Riley (Army's coach) is first class."