U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – George Michalke III scored two goals in the third period to lead Air Force to a 3-1 win over Penn State on Saturday, Oct, 19, in a non-conference college hockey game at the Academy’s Cadet Ice Arena. The Falcons swept the Nittany Lions and improved to 2-2 overall this season. Penn State fell to 1-2.
Neither team scored in the first two periods, but the Falcons broke the tie with two goals in a span of three minutes midway through the third. With Penn State on the power play, Ryan Timar broke up a pass at the blue line by diving on the ice. The puck slid deep into the PSU end and Timar beat everyone to the puck in the corner. With a Nittany Lion on his back, Timar centered the puck to Michalke in the slot who spun around and flipped a backhander over the pad of Matthew Skoff at the 6:44 mark. Three minutes later, Cole Gunner gave the Falcons a 2-0 lead with a one-timer from the slot. After Gunner won a faceoff in the offensive zone, defenseman Alex Halloran sent the puck down the half boards to Chad Demers. Demers found Gunner all alone in the slot for his third of the season. With 3:19 left, Mike McDonald fed Tony Thomas in the neutral zone and Thomas gained the zone. Skoff made a pad save, but kicked the puck out to the slot and Michalke put back the rebound for a 3-0 lead. Shortly after the goal, Penn State pulled its goalie in favor of the extra attacker and quickly cut the Falcon lead to two goals. Ricky DeRosa scored his first career goal from Tommy Olczyk and Luke Juha with 2:46 left. After the goal, the Nittany Lions again pulled their goalie and had two shots on goal that were saved and two that were blocked by Air Force defenseman as the Falcons earned the series sweep.
Air Force outshot Penn State, 35-34, in the game. Torf made 33 saves for the Falcons while Skoff made 32 for the Nittany Lions. AFA was 0-for-2 on the power play while PSU was 0-for-4.
“It has been a long time since we have won a battle like that,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “They are a big, strong, physical team and that was a battle out there. Our guys worked so hard and sacrificed their bodies so many times to block shots. This was a great team win and I could not be happier for our guys. So proud of them. There was nothing easy about this game.”
Air Force continues the home stand with a pair of Atlantic Hockey Association games next weekend. Air Force hosts defending AHA Tournament champion and NCAA qualifier Canisius on Friday, Oct. 25, at 7:05 p.m. MT. The Falcons then host AHA regular-season champion, and NCAA Tournament qualifier, Niagara on Sunday, Oct. 27, at 4:05 p.m. MT