Air Force falls to Alaska-Anchorage, 3-2
Oct. 10, 2010
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Alaska-Anchorage scored three goals in the second period and then held off Air Force for a 3-2 win in the final game of the Kendall Hockey Classic, Saturday night, Oct. 9, at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, Alaska. North Dakota won the tournament with a 1-0-1 record. The Sioux tied Alaska-Anchorage, but won a shootout, and then defeated Alaska-Fairbanks. Alaska-Anchorage was also 1-0-1 in the tournament, but placed second after losing the shootout to North Dakota. Alaska-Fairbanks had a 1-1 record while Air Force was 0-2.
UAA improved to 1-0-1 on the season while Air Force fell to 0-2.
Both teams started a freshman goaltender making their first career start in the game and both were forced to make some tough saves early in the game. None tougher than the one by Falcon freshman Jason Torf with just over eight minutes left in the period. Seawolf captain Tommy Grant snuck between two Falcon defensemen and took a pass wide open in the neutral zone. He skated in uncontested on Torf and took a shot low to the far post. Torf stuck out the left pad for his best save of the period.
With less than 30 seconds left in the period, Blake Page led a 3-on-2 rush down the left wing. He shot was saved by Rob Gunderson, but Page collected the puck behind the net. His shot from below the goal line hit the goaltender in the back of the leg and went in for a 1-0 Falcon lead with 16 seconds remaining.
The Seawolves scored three goals in the second period and then used an incredible save by their goaltender to hold a 3-1 lead after the first two periods. UAA got on the board 60 seconds into the second period. Sean Wiles scored on a wrap-around goal from Curtis Linweber to tie the game at 1-1. The Seawolves took the lead at 8:27 when Craig Parkinson redirected a pass from the boards by Jordan Kwas. With 4:36 left in the period, Wiles scored his second of the game on a wrister from the left circle. His shot went through the traffic and Torf was screened on the play. With just over two minutes left in the period, Gunderson made the save of the game. Jason Fabian led a 2-on-1 rush down the left side. As the defenseman took the shot away, Fabian made a pass across to a wide open Jacques Lamoureux in the right circle. His one-timer was headed to the open net, but Gunderson dove back across the goal mouth and made the save.
Midway through the third period Gunderson again was stellar. On a 2-on-1 breakaway, Stephen Carew took a shot and Gunderson made a pad save to preserve the two-goal lead. With 1:49 left in the third, the Falcons pulled Torf in favor of the extra skate. And it paid off. Just 17 seconds later, Scott Mathis took a shot from the point that deflected off of several players, went high into the air and landed behind Gunderson to make the score 3-2. The goal was officially credited to Mathis, his first of the season. Derrick Burnett and Jacques Lamoureux assisted on the play. Torf again went off the ice with 1:16 remaining and the Falcons had several flurries in front but were unable to tie the game.
"We took a step in the right direction tonight," head coach Frank Serratore said. "We played better tonight, we were more proactive in shooting the puck and we had a lot more Grade A chances. We still had some defensive breakdowns. There goaltender played well and, for us, Jason Torf gave us the goaltending we needed. We have to score more than two goals if we are going to win. We got the first goal both nights, and we have to find a way to build on that."
Air Force opens Atlantic Hockey Association play next weekend on the road as the Falcons travel to Pittsburgh, Pa., to face Robert Morris University on Sunday, Oct. 17, at 6:05 p.m. ET. The game will be played at the Consol Energy, the brand-new home of the Pittsburgh Penguins.