BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - Casey Kleisinger scored two goals as Air Force beat Sacred Heart, 5-2, in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Saturday, Jan. 19, at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. Air Force improved to 8-9-5 overall and 6-5-3 in the AHA. Sacred Heart fell to 0-20-2 overall and 0-14-2 in the league. With the two points tonight, Air Force moved into a tie for sixth place in the conference.
Air Force scored two goals in the first six minutes of the game. Ryan Timar opened the scoring just 49 seconds into the game when he tipped in a pass from Scott Holm. The Falcons took a 2-0 lead at 5:46 of the first period. Timar's centering pass from the corner was tipped in by freshman Ben Carey for a 2-0 lead. Late in the first period, Sacred Heart scored two goals in the final four minutes to tie the game at 2-2. Kyle Verbeek scored with a wrister from the right circle at 15:50. With 17 seconds left in the first period, the first penalty of the game was called on Air Force's Dan Weissenhofer. On the ensuing faceoff, Brian Sheehan was wide open on the back door and scored with 10 seconds left in the period to tie the game.
The Falcons scored two goals in the second period to regain the two-goal advantage. Junior Casey Kleisinger gave the Falcons a 3-2 lead at 2:18 of the second period. Jason Fabian won a battle for the puck in the corner and centered it to his linemate in the slot. Kleisinger netted his fourth of the season as Ben Persian also assisted on the play. The Falcons took a 4-2 lead at the 17:56 mark on the rush. Chad Demers found Tony Thomas coming down the wing and Thomas scored his seventh of the season.
Midway through the third period, Kleisinger scored his second of the game and fifth of the season for a 5-2 lead at the 12:11 mark. Ben Persian forced a turnover and fed Kleisinger in the slot.
Air Force outshot Sacred Heart, 44-26, in the game. The 44 shots are the second most of the season and mark the second straight game the Falcons have had 40 or more shots. AFA was 0-for-3 on the power play while SHU was 1-for-2. Jason Torf made 24 saves for the Falcons while Steven Legatto made 39 for the Pioneers. "I was proud of our guys tonight," head coach Frank Serratore said. "We played a terrific game tonight. Our five-man offense was good and their goaltender, Legatto, was sensational. We were strong in all three zones tonight and we are playing right now the way we need to play."
Air Force and Sacred Heart conclude the two-game AHA series on Sunday, Jan. 20, at 12:05 p.m. ET at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. --30--