Air Force sweeps Sacred Heart with 3-2 win

Nov. 5, 2011

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U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - Stephen Caple tied his career high with 28 saves and Scott Mathis scored the game-winner as Air Force beat Sacred Heart, 3-2, in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Academy's Cadet Ice Arena. The Falcons swept the two-game series and extended its unbeaten streak to seven games, the second longest in the nation.

Air Force, 5-2-2 overall and 4-0-1 in the AHA, opened the scoring just over four minutes into the game as Jason Fabian tipped in a point shot from Adam McKenzie. Senior Paul Weisgarber fed the point and Fabian scored his second of the season at 4:33. AFA outshot SHU, 9-0, in the first 10 minutes of the game. The Falcons took a 2-0 lead at 9:32 when John Kruse scored his second of the series and third of the season. George Michalke dug the puck off the wall in his own end and skated into the zone with Kruse. Kruse's wrister went off of goaltender Stephen Legatto for a 2-0 Falcon lead. AFA had an 11-1 shot advantage in the first 13 minutes. The Pioneers put five shots on goal late in the period, but Falcon tender Stephen Caple made six saves in the period.

Sacred Heart, 0-8-0, 0-4-0 AHA, cut the Air Force lead in half at the 4:22 mark. Ben Ketchum fired a shot from the left side that bounced hard off the back wall. Eric Delong collected the puck and stuffed it under the pad of Stephen Caple for his first of the season.

Early in the third period, Tim Kirby drew a penalty on Pioneer defenseman Mitchell Stretch. On the ensuing faceoff, Paul Weisgarber won the draw and Kirby fed Scott Mathis at the right point who rifled a slap shot past Legatto at 1:54 of the third. With just under two minutes remaining, the Pioneers pulled their goaltender in favor of an extra attacker. The move paid off as Tye Lewis scored with 39 seconds left. Brian Sheehan took a shot that was saved, but Lewis put back the rebound. On the ensuing center ice faceoff, George Michalke won the draw back in his own zone as Legatto left the ice again. SHU took one final shot as the horn went off the Falcons had a 3-2 victory.

AFA out-shot SHU, 42-30, in the game. The 30 shots allowed by Air Force is a season high. AFA was 1-for-5 on the power play while Sacred Heart was 0-for-7. Air Force has now killed 13 straight opponent power plays. Legatto made 39 saves while Caple tied his career high with 28 saves.

"This was a tough game and we battled," head coach Frank Serratore said. "That goal in the third period gave us the cushion we needed since they scored with the extra attacker. Sacred Heart is a tough team to play against. They have made a conscious effort to a defensive structure. Every goal we got this weekend, we earned. I am really glad we had them here in our building. The nature of Division I college hockey is that it is going to be a war every weekend."

Air Force hits the road next weekend for a pair of AHA game. The Falcons play at RIT on Friday, Nov. 11, and then at Mercyhurst on Saturday, Nov. 12. Both games start at 7:05 p.m. ET. --30--



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