BUFFALO, N.Y. -Air Force, ranked 18th in the nation, scored a goal in each period for a 3-1 win over Canisius, in an Atlantic Hockey Conference game Friday, Oct. 27, at the HarborCenter in Buffalo, N.Y. The Falcons improved to 5-1-1 overall and 1-0-0 in the league.
Early in the game with the Griffs on the power play, Canisius' Matt Hoover had some open net after a flurry in front, but Falcon goalie Billy Christopoulos reached back across to his left for the glove save. A few minutes later, Matt Pulver drew a penalty and the Falcons drew first blood. On the power play, Jordan Himley's shot was saved and Matt Serratore scored on the back door for his third of the season, and third in his last three games. Freshman defenseman Zach Mirageas also assisted on the play.
Canisius (1-2-1, 1-2-0 AHC) tied the game early in the second period. Griff Grant Meyer forced a turnover behind the Falcons' net and fed Matt Hoover out front who was crashing down with speed. Hoover's second of the season tied the game at 6:48. In the final minute of the second period, Air Force re-gained the lead as Pulver scored with 58 seconds left in the third. After a flurry on the side of the net, Erik Baskin and Trevor Stone moved the puck in front of the net and Pulver scored his first of the season with the goalie out of position.
Early in the third period, Canisius had some quality opportunities. Two minutes into the period, Matt McLeod had a short-handed breakaway that hit the post. Just a couple minutes later, the Griffs had a 2-on-1 rush, but Christopoulos stopped the Griffs' leading scorer, Dylan McLaughlin. McLaughlin had another breakaway as he skated in all alone and Christopoulos made yet another save.
Midway through the third period, the Falcons struck again on the power play. Ben Kucera slid the puck to Himley in the left circle who quickly made a rink-wide pass to Mirageas. The freshman scored his first career goal for a 3-1 lead at 8:01. Canisius pulled its goalie in the final 1:20, but was unable to score.
"We just have to be ready to play, because everyone else is going to be ready to play us," head coach Frank Serratore said. "The first period was okay, the second period was not very good, but we were better in the third. We did drop a couple bombs in the third, but our goaltending was great. Our goalie was the best player on the ice. Billy Christopoulos is our MVP through the first seven games and there isn't a close second. This is a good one to get in the bank and we'll have to better tomorrow."
The same two teams conclude the two-game series on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 7:35 pm ET at the HarborCenter in Buffalo.