U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – Tony Thomas scored two goals and Jason Torf made 26 saves to lead Air Force to a 5-2 win over Penn State in a non-conference college hockey game at the Academy’s Cadet Ice Arena. A sold out crowd of 2,519 watched Air Force earn its first win of the season and improve to 1-2-0 overall this season. Penn State fell to 1-1-0 overall.
Air Force took a quick 2-0 lead with two goals in a span of 70 seconds early in the first period. Scott Holm opened the scoring with a power-play goal at the 4:46 mark. Cole Gunner made a pass from the right corner and Chad Demers tipped it in front. Holm fired in the loose puck for his first of the season. Seventy seconds later, Tony Thomas gave the Falcons a 2-0 lead on the rush. Ben Carey carried the puck coast-to-coast and fed Thomas in the slot for his first of the season.
Late in the second period, and just after Air Force killed a Penn State power play, the Falcons took a 3-1 lead. Gunner fed Dan Weissenhofer who fired a shot from the right point. Demers redirected the puck at the hash marks for his first of the season. Later in the period, a quick turn of events benefitted the Falcons. With 2:47 left in the second, Nittany Lion forward Taylor Holmstrom took a shot from the right side that was saved and kicked out to the left circle. PSU winger Max Gardiner collected the rebound and had some open net, but his shot hit the post. Twenty seconds later, the Falcons took a 4-1 lead. Demers fed Holm on a 2-on-2 rush and Holm’s shot was saved. Gunner put back the rebound from the right circle for his second of the season.
Early in the third period, the Falcons took a 5-1 lead on Thomas’ second of the game. The senior left winger knocked down a puck at the blue line and skated across to the far circle. His backhander went through a screen by Ben Persian at the 4:48 mark. Penn State’s Luke Juha scored a power play goal with 3:38 left to make up the final margin.
Air Force outshot Penn State, 32-28, in the game. Jason Torf made 26 saves for the Falcons while Eamon McAdam made 27 for the Nittany Lions. AFA was 1-for-5 on the power play while PSU was 1-for-3.
“The game was a lot closer than the score indicated,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “I am pleased with the win and happy for our team. Our intensity was good tonight. We played well, but we have a ways to go. We have plenty to work on. The difference tonight was Jason Torf was good and we got some bounces.”
Air Force and Penn State close out the series on Saturday, Oct. 19, at 7:05 p.m. MT at the Cadet Ice Arena.
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