Nov. 25, 2006
DENVER, Colo. - Denver, ranked 11th in the nation, scored two special teams goals in the second period and then held off Air Force for a 2-1 win in a non-conference college hockey game Friday night, Nov. 24, at Magness Arena in Denver, Colo.
Denver improved to 8-4-1 overall while Air Force fell to 7-7-1.
An up-tempo first period saw very few shots and neither team was able to score. Each team had one power-play opportunity but were unable to score. The Falcons had a near-miss on the power play as Michael Mayra took a shot from the point that went off the shoulder of goaltender Glenn Fisher. The puck then hit the crossbar behind Fisher landed on the ice and slid parallel to the goal line and out the other side.
Denver opened the second period with a flurry and then broke the ice on the power play at the 3:52 mark. Sharp passing set up the goal as Brock Trotter's pass from the left goal line went through the crease to a wide open Ryan Dingle on the back door. Thirty seconds after the goal, the Falcons went on the power play, but it was DU that found the back of the net again. After a turnover in the offensive zone, Dingle picked up the puck at his own blue line and skated coast-to-coast. His short-handed shot from the left faceoff dot beat Peter Foster to the far side for a 2-0 lead.
Late in the second period, the Falcons cut into the Pioneer lead as Mayra led a 3-on-2 rush down the right wing. His centering pass to Mike Phillipich was saved, but Eric Ehn, the nation's leading scorer, put back the rebound with 1:57 remaining in the second period. Ehn's 15th goal of the season made the score 2-1 after two periods.
Each team had several good chances in the second period. Falcon Andrew Ramsey skated in on a 2-on-0 breakaway, but hit the cross bar with 9:40 left. Then with 8:34 remaining, AFA freshman Matt Fairchild had a short-handed breakaway chance that was poked away by the goaltender. Fairchild drew a penalty on the play, but the Falcons were unable to score. Later in the period, DU center Tyler Ruegsegger hit the cross bar and the puck momentarily sat in front of the open net before being swept away.
Each team had two power-play chances early in the third period but were unable to score. The Falcons pulled the goalie with 1:41 remaining in the third period, and held the puck in the zone for the majority of the time. Air Force fired several shots that were either knocked down out front or saved by Fisher.
Special teams were the difference as Denver scored a power-play and a short-handed goal. Air Force was 0-for-6 on the power play while DU was 1-for-7. Air Force out-shot DU, 23-22, in the game. Foster made 20 saves for Air Force while Fisher made 22 for DU.
"We are past moral victories," head coach Frank Serratore said. "We go into every game knowing that if we execute, we can win. We have a very good Air Force team that competes hard and doesn't give anyone easy ice. I am very proud of our guys. They work so hard and I just wish that they could have some success in these games."
Air Force hosts Robert Morris University, Sunday, Nov. 26, at the Academy's Cadet Ice Arena.