Air Force sweeps Sacred Heart with 6-3 win

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - Air Force scored four goals in a span of six minutes in the second period en route to a 6-3 win over Sacred Heart in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Sunday, Jan. 20, at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. Air Force improved to 9-9-5 overall and 7-5-3 in the AHA. AFA moved into a tie for fourth place in the AHA. Sacred Heart fell to 0-21-2 overall and 0-15-2 in the league.

Air Force opened the scoring at the 6:35 mark of the first period. SHU goalie Steven Legatto tried to clear a puck from behind his own goal line. However, Stephen Carew caught the puck and then passed the puck across to Cole Gunner who was open on the back door. Gunner netted his fifth of the season to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead. Sacred Heart tied the game in the final two minutes of the opening period after the Falcons were called for too many men on the ice. Defenseman Jared Eng scored his first of the season with a shot from the left point with 1:47 remaining in the first period.

Air Force scored four goals in the first six minutes of the second period to build a 5-1 lead. Just 37 seconds into the second period, Ben Carey scored for a 2-1 lead. Scott Holm forced a turnover behind the SHU net and Carey netted his second of the weekend and fifth of the season. Jason Fabian gave the Falcons a 3-1 lead at the 1:49 mark when he intercepted a Pioneer pass at the blue line and skated in uncontested on Legatto. Fabian's fifth of the season was unassisted. Then it was the Falcon power play that scored for a 4-1 lead. After Carew drew a penalty in the neutral zone, the Falcons capitalized. Carew made a cross ice pass to Kyle De Laurell in the left circle and the senior scored his ninth of the season. Less than two minutes later, the Falcons took a 5-1 lead on the rush. Cole Gunner and Tony Thomas played catch going down the left wing and Gunner netted his second of the game and sixth of the season at 5:47.

Sacred Heart scored two goals early in the third period to cut the Falcon lead to 5-3. On the power play, Brian Sheahan scored near the weakside post at the 5:11 mark to make the score 5-2. Four minutes later, the Pioneers scored again on the rush. Chad Filteau scored from Nick Curry at 9:11 to cut the Falcon lead to 5-3. Air Force answered as defenseman Adam McKenzie scored his second of the season at the 10:24 mark. McKenzie took a shot that was knocked down in front. However, McKenzie collected the loose puck and passed down low to Gunner. Gunner gave it right back to McKenzie who scored from the bottom of the left circle for a 6-3 lead.

Air Force outshot Sacred Heart, 42-38, in the game. Jason Torf made 35 saves for the Falcons. Pioneer goalie Steve Legatto started the game and gave up five goals on 21 shots. Andrew Bodnarchuk came on in relief and made 20 saves while allowing one goal in 34 minutes. AFA was 0-for-3 on the power play while SHU was 2-for-6.

"Our game and our spirit are on the upswing," head coach Frank Serratore said. "We took care of business this weekend and got the points we needed to get. We didn't have the same intensity in the third period that we did in the second and we need to work on closing out games. We did a lot of really well today. In the second period, we capitalized on our chances and finally got to Legatto."

Air Force returns home to begin a four-game home stand with a two-game series against Robert Morris, Friday-Saturday, Jan. 25-26, at 7:05 p.m. each night at Cadet Ice Arena.