Air Force blanks Army, 3-0, in game one of AHA quarterfinals
March 12, 2010
USAFA, Colo. - Andrew Volkening recorded his third straight Atlantic Hockey Association Tournament shutout as he made 29 saves in a 3-0 win over Army in the first game of a three-game Atlantic Hockey Association quarterfinal series, Friday, March 12, at the Air Force Academy's Cadet Ice Arena.
Volkening recorded shutouts in the semifinals and championship games of last year's AHA Final Four. Volkening has an AHA Tournament shutout streak of 218 consecutive minutes that dates back to last season's AHA quarterfinals. The shutout was his fourth of the season and the 15th of his career.
Air Force improved to 15-14-6 overall this season while Army fell to 11-17-7 overall.
Sean Bertsch gave Air Force a 1-0 lead 1:38 into the game. Eric Artman started the rush in the neutral zone and Blake Page skated the puck down the right wing. His centering pass went around a diving Army defenseman and was right on the tape of Bertsch, who scored his fourth of the season and second in as many games. Army had 24 seconds of 5-on-3 time late in the first period but was unable to convert.
Air Force clung to the 1-0 lead until late in the second period, when the Falcons scored two goals in a span of 96 seconds. Bertsch's second of the game and third in the last two games came at the 16:00 mark on a rebound. Page took a pass from Matt Becker in the neutral zone and made a spin move on an Army defenseman to create some space on the left wing. His shot was saved by Jay Clark, but Bertsch collected the rebound below the goal line and shot it off the goaltender for a 2-0 lead. Derrick Burnett's ninth of the year came at 17:36 for a 3-0 lead. Artman blocked a shot in his end and sent the puck to John Kruse in the neutral zone. As Kruse went to the corner, Burnett was all alone coming down the slot. Kruse's pass from right on target and Burnett beat Clark through the five-hole. Each team had seven shot in the third period, but neither scored.
"A question with our team this season was our depth and our depth was pretty darn good tonight," head coach Frank Serratore said. "There is not pretty way to win these games. You have to grind them out and we did. And when we faltered, Volkening was there. There are a lot of ice bags in our locker room and that tells me there were a lot of guys paying the price tonight. Tomorrow will be tougher game than tonight. They will be facing elimination and I know that they don't want their season to end on our ice."
Air Force outshot Army, 38-29, in the game. AFA was 0-for-3 on the power play while Army was 0-for-5. Volkening made 29 saves while Clark made 35 for the Black Knights.
These two teams will play again Saturday, March 13, at 7:05 p.m. MT in game two of the three-game series. If Air Force wins Saturday's game, it will advance to the AHA Final Four in Rochester, N.Y., March 19-20. If Army wins Saturday's game, the deciding third game will be Sunday, March 14, at 7:05 p.m. MT. Tickets are still available for both nights at www.GoAirForceFalcons.com or by phone at 719-472-1895.