Air Force beats Niagara, 7-4, for conference road win
Nov. 20, 2010
NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -Air Force scored five goals in the first two periods and then held off Niagara for a 7-4 win in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Saturday night, Nov. 20, at Dwyer Arena in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Paul Weisgarber and Jason Fabian each scored two goals as Air Force improved to 4-6-1 overall and 3-3-1 in the league. Niagara fell to 6-4-2 overall and 5-2-0 in the league.
Fabian scored the first goal of the game to at the 11:38 mark. The freshman started in his own end and skated the puck through the neutral zone, made a move past a defenseman and put the puck on his forehand. He then pulled it back to his back hand and slid it under the pad for a 1-0 lead. With 1:48 left in the period, a Niagara player collided with his own goaltender behind the net and knocked him down. The Falcons capitalized as Jacques Lamoureux fed Brad Sellers at the right point who fired a slap shot toward the net. Weisgarber re-directed it into the open net for a 2-0 lead.
Air Force scored three goals in the second period for a 5-0 lead. Fabian's second of the game gave the Falcons a 3-0 lead just 2:21 into the second period. John Kruse made a centering pass from behind the net and Fabian scored from the slot. Freshman defenseman Adam McKenzie scored his first career goal on the power play at 4:14. Kruse slid the puck to McKenzie at the left point who fired a slap shot through traffic for a 4-0 lead. Weisgarber scored his second of the game with 1:34 left in the second period. Derrick Burnett and Jacques Lamoureux led a 2-on-1 rush and the Niagara goaltender Andrew Hare made a glove save on Lamoureux's wrister. Weisgarber cleaned up the rebound for his second of the night and seventh of the season.
Niagara made the game interesting in the third period. The Purple Eagles scored the first two goals of the period. Ryan Murphy got the first Niagara goal of the night on a wrap-around at 3:02. Niagara cut the Air Force lead to 5-2 at 10:20 when Bryan Haczyk fired a wrister through traffic on the power play. Shortly after the goal, the Purple Eagles went back on the power play and the home team had all the momentum. However, Scott Mathis picked up a puck at his own blue line, skated into the Niagara end and scored a short-handed goal for a 6-3 Falcon lead. Coming down the right side his slap shot was saved, but he punched in his own rebound at 11:26. However, Niagara scored two goals in a span of three minutes, both by Scott Arnold to get right back into it. His first goal came on a breakaway at 12:20 and then his second came at 15:46 on a short-handed goal. Niagara pulled its goaltender with1:57 remaining and had several flurries in front. Senior Blake Page sealed the win with an empty-net goal with 5.7 seconds left.
Niagara outshot Air Force, 34-27, in the game. Each team was 1-for-4 on the power play. Torf made 30 saves in the game for the Falcons as he earned his second career win and first ever conference victory. Hare started for Niagara and made five saves while allowing four goals in 24 minutes. Carsen Chubak played the final 36 minutes and gave up three goals while making 16 stops.
"Anytime you get two points on the road, I feel pretty darn good," head coach Frank Serratore said. "At the end of the day, there are no style points. We built that five-goal lead and then our kids responded to some adversity. I told the guys that you can never relax. It is nice to learn some lessons when it really doesn't hurt you. We are capable of scoring goals, but we have to get into the scoring areas around the net. The goals that we scored tonight were either scored right in front of the net or when we got traffic in front. Torf looked a little tired in the third period, but overall he had great weekend."
Air Force plays two non-conference road games next weekend at the annual Denver Cup at Magness Arena in Denver. Air Force faces Clarkson in the first game on Friday, Nov. 26 at 4:35 p.m. AFA then faces 13th-ranked Denver on Saturday, Nov. 27, at 7:05 p.m.