Air Force blanks Canisius, 3-0

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U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. Senior Billy Christopoulos recorded his eighth career shutout to lead Air Force to a 3-0 win over Canisius in an Atlantic Hockey Conference game Friday, Feb. 15, at the Cadet Ice Arena.

The Falcons (14-11-4, 12-8-3 AHC) jumped on the board quickly on a 3-on-2 rush. Zach Mirageas gained the zone and fed Kyle Haak in the middle of the ice. Haak’s shot was blocked by a defenseman by Walker Sommer picked up the rebound and scored his sixth of the season 35 seconds into the game.

Early in the second period, it looked like the Falcons took a 2-0 lead on the rush. Trevor Stone’s shot bounced off the back wall and went off of Evan Giesler’s skate and into the net. After a video review, the goal was ruled to be kicked in and, therefore, disallowed. The Falcons did take a 2-0 lead at 11:31 when Haak scored his second short-handed goal of the season. Alex Mehnert dug the puck out of the faceoff circle in his own end and Matt Pulver led a 2-on-1. Pulver’s pass was tipped in on the backdoor by Haak for his team-leading 12th of the season.

Early in the third period, Mehnert gave the Falcons a 3-0 lead with a power play goal at 3:05. His wrister snuck through traffic for his first of the season. Mirageas collected his second assist of the night.

Air Force outshot Canisius, 34-22. The 34 shots tied as the most since getting 35 against Mercyhurst on Dec. 8 (12 games). The Falcons were 1-for-4 on the power play while Canisius was 0-for-4. Matt Ladd made 31 saves for the Griffs.

“I liked our game tonight,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “Canisius has some firepower and is a dangerous team. They had enough chances to score, but Billy was good. This was a good start for us. Now we need to build on this. After giving up eight even-strength goals at Bentley, it was nice to come out and get this one.”

The same two teams conclude the two-game series on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 5:05 pm MT at the Cadet Ice Arena.