Air Force beats Canisius, 4-2, to split series

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BUFFALO, N.Y. – Four Falcons scored and Jason Torf returned to the lineup to make 18 saves as Air Force defeated Canisius for a 4-2 win in an Atlantic Hockey Association game, Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Buffalo State Sports Arena in Buffalo, N.Y. Air Force and Canisius split the two-game series. The Falcons improved to 18-10-4 overall and 13-7-3 in the league. Canisius fell to 11-16-3 overall and 10-10-3 in the AHA. AFA remains in a tie for third place in the conference while Canisius is in seventh.
Air Force controlled play for much of the first period and took the early lead. Senior defenseman Adam McKenzie scored his fifth of the season with a shot from the slot. His goal at 16:54 came from Scott Holm and Cole Gunner. Air Force outshot Canisius, 16-5, in the first period.
Midway through the second period, Air Force took a two-goal lead. A hard-working shift by the Falcons’ fourth line led to a 2-0 lead at the 7:34 mark. Freshman A.J. Reid put back a rebound of Max Hartner’s shot as Mitch Torrel also assisted on the play. Just over two minutes later, Canisius won a faceoff in the offensive zone and defenseman Doug Jessey fired a shot that found a hole through traffic and got past Torf at 9:57.
In the third period, Air Force scored two goals in a span of 77 seconds for a 4-1 lead. The Falcons scored their first power-play goal of the series at 11:46 when Gunner found Chad Demers open on the back door and the junior center buried his 14th of the season on the man-advantage. The Falcons then took a 4-1 lead at 13:03 when Jacob Musselman kept a puck in the zone and took a shot from the center point that was saved. Ryan Timar put back the rebound for his third of the season. Canisius cut the Falcon lead to 4-2 at 15:42 when Cody Freeman scored on the power play. The Griffs pulled the goalie with 2:50 remaining in the third, but was unable to score.
“Our game was night and day from last night,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “We played with much more intensity tonight. Our power play and faceoffs were terrible, and we still carried the play. It is amazing that you can overcome those things when you have more energy than your opponent. This is the type of effort we have to have to win on the road in the conference. We needed this one. Tonight we were on them right from the beginning. They deserved the win last night and we deserved this one. It was great for us to get some secondary scoring and was great to have Jason Torf back in goal as well.”
Air Force outshot Canisius, 35-20, in the game. Torf returned to the starting lineup after missing 13 games with a groin injury. He made 18 saves in earning his 10th win of the season. Capobianco made 31 saves for the Griffs. AFA was 1-for-4 on the power play while Canisius was 1-for-3.
Air Force returns home for a two-game series with the RIT Tigers, Friday-Saturday, Feb. 21-22, at 7:05 p.m. MT at the Cadet Ice Arena.