Oct. 16, 2011
USAFA, Colo. - Four different Falcons scored and senior goalie Stephen Caple made 18 saves as Air Force beat Robert Morris, 4-2, in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Sunday, Oct. 16, at the Air Force Academy's Cadet Ice Arena. Air Force improved to 2-2-0 overall and 2-0-0 in the AHA. Robert Morris fell to 1-2-0 overall and 0-1-0 in the league.
Air Force opened the scoring at the 5:40 mark of the first period. John Kruse led the rush down the right side. His centering pass was poked away by goaltender Brooks Ostergard, but the puck went right to Stephen Carew in the right circle. His second of the season gave the Falcons a 1-0 lead. Robert Morris capitalized on an Air Force turnover to tie the game at 13:46. Tyson Wilson intercepted a pass on the boards and centered the puck to a wide open Tom Brooks at the hash marks. His first of the season tied the game at 1-1. The Falcons regained the lead four minutes later on the rush. Cole Gunner made a pass off the wall to George Michalke in front of the net. His shot was redirected, but Kyle De Laurell put back the rebound for his third of the weekend at the 13:46 mark.
Jason Fabian gave the Falcons a 3-1 lead at 1:29 of the third period. John Kruse and Tony Thomas led the rush and Thomas controlled the puck behind the net. Kruse fed Fabian who was skating down the slot for his first of the season. AFA out-shot RMU, 13-3, in the second period. The Falcons killed two Robert Morris power plays in the period and did not give up a shot on goal on the man-advantages. AFA had four power plays in the period, including 52 seconds of a 5-on-3 that carried over into the third period, but were unable to convert.
Air Force maintained its two-goal lead throughout the third period and had the advantage in shots on goal. However, the game became interesting in the final two minutes. Robert Morris pulled its goaltender with 1:53 remaining in the third and scored just 16 seconds later. Brandon Blendina made a centering pass from the corner and Trevor Lewis scored his second of the season to make the score 3-2 with 1:37 remaining. With 31 seconds left, Falcon junior John Kruse scored an empty net goal for a 4-2 Falcon lead. A Colonial defenseman dove on the ice to keep the puck in the zone, but Kruse collected the deflection, skated across the red line and scored his first of the season. Air Force was not out of the woods yet as defenseman Mike Walsh was called for an interference penalty with 17 seconds left and the Colonials had a two-man advantage with the empty net. Caple made a save and two shots sailed wide of the net as the horn went off.
The Falcons outshot the Colonials, 35-20, in the game, including a 26-10 advantage in the first 40 minutes. AFA was 0-for-5 on the power play while RMU was 0-for-4. Ostergard made 31 saves for Robert Morris.
"This was huge for us to get four points with the guys that we have out of the lineup," head coach Frank Serratore said. "With Jason Torf, Mitch Torrel and Casey Kleisinger all out, we needed some inexperienced guys step in. And they did. We have never had this deep of a team and we needed it this weekend."
Air Force travels to Huntsville, Ala., for a two-game non-conference series with Alabama-Huntsville, Oct. 21-22, at 7:05 p.m. CT each night.