Falcons travel to Mercyhurst
Jan. 2, 2007
This Week: Air Force (9-8-3, 6-3-3 AHA) travels to Mercyhurst (4-12-4, 4-8-2 AHA), Jan. 5-6, 2007. The faceoff is at 7:00 p.m. EST each night at Mercyhurst Ice Center in Erie, Penn.
Radio/Television/Internet: Both games can be heard on the internet at www.GoAirForceFalcons.com. The Jan. 5 game can also be heard in Colorado Springs on The Sports Animal, AM 1300. Jay Ritchie, in his 10th season of Air Force hockey and 19th season of Falcon athletics, will do the play-by-play. Dave Toller will do the color. The pregame show begins at 4:45 p.m. MST each day.
Scouting the Opponents: Mercyhurst (Erie, Penn.) is 4-12-4 overall and 4-8-2 in the AHA. The Lakers were picked to win the league, but are struggling this season. Mercyhurst was second in the AHA last season, just one point behind Holy Cross, and lost in the tournament semifinals in overtime. The Lakers are 0-4-1 in their last five games, not having won since an 8-3 win over AIC on Dec. 2. However, Mercyhurst skated to a 1-1 overtime tie with third-ranked Maine, Dec. 16. The Lakers then lost two games at the Denver Cup, Dec. 29-30. Denver, ranked 13th, beat the Lakers, 3-0, in the first game. Brown then beat Mercyhurst, 3-2 in overtime in the consolation game. Junior Ben Cottreau leads the team with 23 points (11-12-23). Goalie Jordan Wakefield has averaged 49 saves in each of his last three starts with 45 vs. Maine, 48 vs. Denver and 54 vs. Brown. The senior has a .929 saves percentage and a 2.93 goals-against average.
Ehn Leading the Nation: Junior center Eric Ehn is leading the nation in points (36) and points per game (1.80). He is second in the nation in goals scored (16) and is fourth in goals per game (0.80). Ehn led the nation in goals from Oct. 21-Dec. 8. He moved into the national lead in points on Nov. 20 and held that spot until Dec. 3. He is back in the lead for points, despite not playing for four weeks. Ehn has scored in 16 of the 20 games this season and has eight multiple-point games.
Long Break: By the time the puck drops on Jan. 5, Air Force will have not played a game in 27 days. The team's last game was a 7-5 loss at UConn, in a game that Air Force led, 5-2, in the third period. Air Force normally has about a 20-day layoff in December for finals and the holidays, but the team also had a 27-day layoff last season.
Series Record: Mercyhurst and Air Force have never played.
The Coaches: Air Force coach Frank Serratore (Bemidji State, 1982) is in his 10th season at Air Force and his 14th as a collegiate head coach. He has a 136-180-22 record at AFA and an overall mark of 185-272-31. Mercyhurst coach Rick Gotkin is in his 19th season with the Lakers with a school and overall record of 342-210-37.
Most Wins Before the Break: Air Force's nine wins before the holiday break ties the most in school history. The 1999-2000, 2000-01 and 2004-05 teams all won nine games. The 1974-75 team also won nine games before the break and finished the season 24-5-1.
Among the Best in the Nation: Several Falcons rank among the national leaders in various categories. Along with Ehn's points and goals rankings (above), he is also third in assists per game (1.00) and tied for 23rd in power-play goals (5). Andrew Ramsey is tied for 10th in the nation in game-winning goals (3), is 29th in points per game (1.26) and 32nd in goals per game (0.59). Mike Phillipich is 38th in the nation in points per game (1.26) and 33rd in assists per game (0.84). The Falcon offense ranks 18th at 3.30 goals per game while the defense is 30th at 3.00 goals allowed per game. The Air Force power play ranks 32nd (16.0) while the penalty kill is 58th (74.8).
10 Straight Weeks ...: Air Force has been idle since Dec. 8 at UConn. Prior to the break, the Falcons had played 10 straight weeks for the first time since the 1997-98 season, Frank Serrratore's first year. That season, the Falcons played 10 straight weeks from Dec. 28 through Feb. 28.
... But a Better Record This Year: AFA was 10-12 during that stretch in 97-98 compared to this season's 9-8-3 record. However, all of this season's games have been against Division I competition. In 1997-98, six of the 10 wins came against Division III teams.
Another Long Stretch Ahead: After the Falcons' long holiday break, Air Force plays eight straight regular season weekends prior to the AHA Playoffs in the second half of the season.
Frequent Flyers: Air Force plays 10 of the last 16 regular-season games on the road. The Falcons play road series at Mercyhurst, Holy Cross, Bentley, RIT and AIC. The only home games are Jan. 19-20 vs. Army, Feb. 2-3 vs. Mercyhurst and Feb. 16-17 vs. Canisius.
Last Games: Air Force split a two-game Atlantic Hockey series at UConn, Dec. 7-8. In the first game, AFA scored two first-period goals for a 4-2 win. In the second game, the Falcons had a 5-2 lead entering the third period, but UConn scored five goals in the final 20 minutes for a 7-5 win.