MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Stephen Carew scored two goals and Kyle De Laurell had three assists as Air Force beat Alabama-Huntsville, 6-1, in the Mariucci Classic, Sunday, Dec. 30, at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis, Minn. Air Force improved to 6-8-4 overall while UAH fell to 3-16-1. Air Force was 1-1 in the tournament.
Air Force roared to a great start with two goals in the first three minutes of the game. Sophomore Ben Persian scored his first career goal at the 2:35 mark. On the rush, Ryan Timar made a centering pass from the right side to Persian coming down the middle. Twenty-two seconds later, senior Stephen Carew scored on the rush. Cole Gunner made a centering pass from the left side to Carew coming down the slot. His team-leading ninth of the season came at 2:57. With 26 seconds left in the first period, freshman Ben Carey scored on rush. Kyle DeLaurell caught a pass and spun around to create some space in the neutral zone. Gunner skated the puck down the left side and fed Carey coming down the middle.
Alabama-Huntsville got on the board midway through the second period. Michael Webley made a pass from the corner to Jeff Vanderlugt at the top of the right circle. His slap shot cut the Falcon lead to 3-1 at the 13:39 mark.
Early in the third period, Tony Thomas gave the Falcons a 4-1 lead at the 5:34 mark. Jacob Musselman held the puck in the zone and fired a shot that was going wide of the net. Thomas tipped it in for his sixth of the season. AFA scored two goals in the final three minutes of the game to make up the final margin. John Kruse blocked a shot in his own end and took control of the puck. He skated the length of the ice and scored his fifth of the season at 16:52. With 1:35 left, Carew scored his second of the game and 10th of the season to make up the final margin. Dan Weissenhofer chipped the puck up ice and Carew skated down the left side. The senior tucked the puck inside the post and under the pad for a 6-1 lead. Air Force outshot UAH, 37-28, in the game. AFA was 0-for-2 on the power play while UAH was 0-for-3. Jason Torf made 27 saves while Gregg Gruehl made 31 for the Chargers.
"I worried a little bit about our legs coming back on short rest, but we got off to a great start," head coach Frank Serratore said. "We had good rhythm tonight. I give our guys a lot of credit. They did what they had to do. They got the lead and they answered when Huntsville scored. They did what they had to do to get the job done. Jason Torf made some real timely saves for us in the game."
Air Force returns to conference play with a single game at Niagara, Saturday, Jan. 5, in Niagara Falls, N.Y. --30--