Dec. 30, 2011
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Senior Stephen Caple made a career high 33 saves as Air Force beat fifth-ranked Colorado College, 2-1, in a non-conference college hockey game, Friday, Dec. 30, at the Colorado Springs World Arena. The win was the first ever at the World Arena against nine losses. It was also the first time the Falcons won at Colorado College since 1985. However, it is the second time in the last four years the Falcons have beaten the Tigers.
The Falcons opened the scoring midway through the first period with a power-play goal from Scott Mathis. With just under 13 minutes left in the period, Mike Walsh drew a penalty behind his own net. After Tim Kirby hit a post, the Falcons kept the puck in the zone. Chad Demers passed around the net to John Kruse on the far side. Kruse fed Mathis at the left point and his slap shot beat Josh Thorimbert at the 8:32 mark. With 6:09 left in the period, Stephen Carew led the rush down the left side and tried to pass to Mitch Torrel coming down the slot. The pass was broken up but Tony Thomas trailed and took a shot that was saved, but his rebound went under the pads of Thorimbert just as several players crashed into the net. However, the goal was disallowed as the net came off its post. After a video review, the call on the ice was confirmed. AFA outshot CC, 10-6, in the first period.
The Tigers, 11-6 overall, outshot the Falcons, 11-5, in the second period, but it was the Falcons that lit the lamp. With Colorado College on the power play, Walsh forced a turnover and sent the puck out of the zone. Casey Kleisinger picked it up in the neutral zone and skated in uncontested on a breakaway. His wrister beat Thorimbert for a 2-0 lead. The short-handed goal was the first of Kleisinger's career and the first by Air Force this season.
The third period was all Tigers as they outshot the Falcons, 17-2, in the third period. Tiger defenseman Michael Boivin's slap shot from the point at the 7:50 mark cut the AFA lead to 2-1. The Tigers had the Falcons on their heels most of the period, but Caple made 16 saves. CC pulled its goalie in the final minute but was unable to score.
CC outshot AFA, 34-17, in the game. Caple made 11 saves in the second period and 16 in the third for his career-high 33 stops. Thorimbert made 15 saves for the Tigers. CC entered the game with the No. 3 power play in the nation, but the Falcons killed all three Tiger opportunities. AFA was 1-for-2 on the power play and also scored a shortie.
"This was a special win for our guys and especially for our seniors," head coach Frank Serratore said. "This senior class is 2-2 against CC and that is something special. We have played so many ranked teams and we've beaten a few, but most were in the friendly confines of the Cadet Ice Arena. The other was at a neutral site. Now we are playing for the state championship tomorrow (against Denver) in our building. These are the Air Force Falcons. We'll put our best foot forward and go for it. We'll have to play awfully well."
Air Force, 10-4-2 overall, hosts 15th-ranked Denver on Saturday, Dec. 31, at 6:05 p.m. at the Cadet Ice Arena.