U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - Alex Halloran scored the game-winner late in the second period and Tony Thomas sealed it with a power-play goal late in the third as Air Force beat Canisius, 3-1, in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Friday, Feb. 15, at the Cadet Ice Arena. Air Force moved into second place in the AHA as the Falcons improved to 13-10-7 overall and 11-6-5 in the league. Canisius fell to 11-15-5 overall and 10-10-2 in the league.
Air Force could not have gotten off to much of a better start as the Falcons scored on the first shift of the game. Defenseman Dan Weissenhofer started the rush in his own end and Cole Gunner chipped the puck through the neutral zone to Kyle De Laurell. Skating in one-on-one, De Laurell's first shot was saved but he put back his own rebound for a 1-0 lead. His team-leading 14th of the season came 19 seconds into the game.
Canisius tied the game early in the second period after the Falcons turned the puck over at its own blue line. Kyle Gibbons intercepted a pass and dropped the puck to Mitch McCrank in the slot. After a collision in front of the Air Force net, McCrank scored his fourth of the season at 5:58 of the second period. Air Force regained the lead on the power play. Chad Demers won a faceoff in the offensive zone and Scott Holm sent the puck to the center point. Halloran fired a slap shot that beat Tony Capobianco glove side for his second of the season at the 12:39 mark.
With just over two minutes left in third period and the Falcons leading 2-1, Canisius defenseman Ben Parker was called for a cross-check, putting Air Force on the power play. Just over a minute later, Canisius forward Kyle Gibbons was called for tripping and the Falcons had a 5-on-3 advantage with under a minute remaining. After winning a faceoff in the offensive zone, Stephen Carew slid the puck over to Adam McKenzie at the left point. McKenzie found Thomas wide open on the back-door and the junior netted his eighth of the season with 45 seconds remaining.
Air Force outshot Canisius, 45-19, in the game. AFA was 2-for-6 on the power play while Canisius was 0-for-2. Capobianco made 42 saves for the Golden Griffins. Jason Torf made 18 for the Falcons.
"This is the best we have played all season with a tight lead late in the game," head coach Frank Serratore said. "Our special teams were huge tonight and they had to be. Capobianco was outstanding. It took two power-play goals to beat him. We got stronger as the game went on tonight and I thought we managed the game pretty well in the second and third period." \ Air Force and Canisius conclude the two-game series on Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Cadet Ice Arena.