Air Force blanks Mercyhurst, 2-0
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – Senior Billy Christopoulos posted his second consecutive shutout to lead Air Force to a 2-0 win over Mercyhurst in an Atlantic Hockey Conference game Friday, Dec. 7, at the Cadet Ice Arena. Air Force improved to 9-6-0 overall and is in first place with a 9-4-0 league record. Mercyhurst, the 2018 Atlantic Hockey Conference regular-season champions, fell to 7-8-2 overall and 5-5-1 in the league.
After a scoreless first period, Air Force took a 2-0 lead in the first eight minutes of the second period. Trevor Stone drew a penalty, putting the Falcons on the power play. Air Force quickly capitalized as Kyle Haak scored his fourth of the season. Matt Koch’s shot from the center point was saved, but Haak put back the rebound at 1:42. Evan Feno also assisted on the goal. Six minutes later, Trevor Stone scored on a breakaway for a 2-0 lead at 7:54. Alex Mehnert collected a loose puck in his own end and Evan Giesler made a long outlet pass to spring Stone on the breakaway.
Air Force outshot Mercyhurst, 10-3, in the third period. With 1:38 left in the third, Mercyhurst pulled its goalie. In the extra attacker situation, Evan Giesler and Matt Koch blocked a pair of shots.
The Falcons outshot the Lakers, 29-18, in the game. Air Force was 1-for-3 on the power play while Mercyhurst was 0-for-3.
“I thought we were the better team tonight and when we had a breakdown, Billy was there for us,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “That was pretty much the story of this one. Our penalty kill was good, as it has been recently. When you win the special teams and goaltending you generally win the game.”
Air Force and Mercyhurst conclude the two-game series on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 5:05 pm MT at the Cadet Ice Arena. After the Saturday game, the Falcons are off until Dec. 29-30 against Bemidji State at the Cadet Ice Arena.
Billy Christopoulos posted his second shutout of the season and seventh of his career. He has seven consecutive shutout periods.
Air Force is 6-0 when scoring the first goal of the game this season.
Air Force is 6-0 when winning the battle of special teams and 8-2 when scoring a power play goal.
Air Force has won two straight over Mercyhurst and four of the last five. The Falcons lead the series 19-14-3
Air Force has killed 25 straight opponent power plays, including all three against the Lakers. The Falcons rank third in the nation in PK at 88.5 percent.
With an assist tonight, Even Feno leads the team with 12 points this season.
With an assist tonight, Matt Koch leads the team with 10 assists this season.