Falcons fall to Alabama-Huntsville, 4-2

    Jeff Hajner
    Jeff Hajner

    Oct. 16, 2009

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    USAFA, Colo . - Alabama-Huntsville scored two goals in the first three minutes for a 4-2 win over Air Force in a non-conference college hockey game, Friday night, Oct. 16, at the Cadet Ice Arena. Air Force extended its school record regular-season sellout streak to nine games as 3,067 fans watched, nearly in the 2,470-seat arena.

    Air Force fell to 0-3 on the season while UAH improved to 2-1.

    The Chargers opened the scoring just over two minutes into the game when Chris Fairbanks scored with a slap shot from the right circle. After goaltender Cameron Talbot made a save on a shot by Falcon winger Kyle De Laurell, Fairbanks picked up the puck in his own end and went coast to coast. Sixty-one seconds later, the Chargers had a 2-0 lead on a goal by Justin Cseter. Brennan Barker knocked down a clearing attempt by Air Force and took a shot from the left point. Falcon tender Andrew Volkening made the save, but lost control of the puck and Cseter pushed it in for a two-goal advantage. Air Force got within one with a power-play goal by Jeff Hajner at 17:07. Derrick Burnett and Scott Mathis assisted on the play as Hajner scored with a wrister from the top of the left circle.

    UAH took a 3-1 lead early in the second period on a goal by Neil Ruffini on the rush. Ruffini got the puck in the neutral zone and split two Air Force defenders as he raced in on Volkening for a 3-1 lead at 4:26 of the second. Hajner again answered for Air Force on the power play just 33 seconds later. Burnett and Mathis again assisted as Hajner scored with a wrister between the circles for his second of the night and third of the season. However, just 37 seconds later, UAH took a 4-2 lead when Andrew Coburn scored on a rebound right in front of Volkening. After the goal, Volkening was pulled from the game and sophomore Stephen Caple came on in relief. Neither team scored in the final 30 minutes of the game.

    While on the power play late in the third period, Air Force pulled its goalie for a two-man advantage with 4:33 left in the game. Even after the power play ended, AFA stayed with the extra attacker on the ice, but were unable to score. Air Force outshot UAH, 28-8 in the final 40 minutes and 42-21 in the game. Volkening made 11 saves while allowing four goals in 25 minutes. Caple played 31 minutes and did not allow a goal on six shots. AFA was 2-for-7 on the power play and killed all four UAH man-advantages. Talbot made 40 saves for the Chargers in earning his second road win of the season.

    "Our defense doesn't handle pressure real well," head coach Frank Serratore said. "We can't drop bombs like we did tonight and give them easy scoring chances. College hockey games are so tight that it comes down to who makes the most mistakes. The team that usually makes the most mistakes is the one that usually loses. We worked hard and our energy was good, but they capitalized on their chances and we didn't. We are all pressing right now. We have to stick together and I'm confident that we will turn it around."

    Air Force and Alabama-Huntsville conclude the two-game series Saturday night, Oct. 17, at 7:05 p.m. MT at the Cadet Ice Arena. --30--



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