Falcons travel to Sacred Heart
Jan. 2, 2008
This Week Air Force (9-5-4, 7-4-3 AHA) travels to Fairfield, Conn., for a two-game league series with Sacred Heart (6-8-2, 6-2-2 AHA), Friday-Saturday, Jan. 4-5, 7:05 pm ET at the Milford Ice Pavilion.
Radio/Internet Both games will be broadcast on the internet at GoAirForceFalcons.com. Jay Ritchie will do the play-by-play while Dave Toller will do the color. The pregame show begins 20 minutes prior to faceoff each night. Video Streaming/Television Both games will be video streamed with audio by the B2 Network on a subscription basis. For more information, please go to the Atlantic Hockey Association web-site at AtlanticHockeyOnline.com. No television.
Last Week AFA lost to 14th-ranked Boston College, 8-2, in the first round of the Dodge Holiday Classic at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis, Minn. The next night, AFA skated to a 2-2 overtime tie with 12th-ranked Minnesota, Dec. 30.
The Coach Air Force coach Frank Serratore (Bemidji State, 1982) is in his 11th season with the Falcons and his 15th as a collegiate head coach. He has an Air Force record of 158-194-28. His overall mark is 207-286-37. Sacred Heart's Shaun Hannah is in his 12th season with the Pioneers with a school and overall record of 170-170-33.
Rankings Air Force is receiving votes in both major national polls. Based on the number of votes, Air Force is 25th in the USCHO/CSTV poll and 16th in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.
Scouting The Opponents Sacred Heart, Fairfield, Conn., is 6-8-2 overall and 6-2-2 in the AHA, tied with Army for second place with 14 points. The Pioneers lost twice at the Denver Cup last weekend, falling to third-ranked Denver, 5-0, and Northern Michigan, 5-2. The team is 0-6 in non-conference play, but has played a solid schedule of Colgate, RPI, Niagara, Denver and Northern Michigan. The Pioneers are 3-0-1 at home this season. Junior forward Bear Trapp leads the team with 10 assists and 15 points. Senior Alexandre Parent leads the team with six goals. Junior Stefan Drew is the team's top goaltender with a 6-6-1 record, a 2.89 GAA and a saves percentage of 90.0.
Tough Road Ahead The second half of the Falcons' schedule is underway and the Falcons have a tough road ahead. The Falcons just faced two of the top 15 teams in the country with a loss to 14th-ranked Boston College and a tie with 12th-ranked Minnesota. This week, AFA travels to Sacred Heart for a two-game series with the second-place Pioneers. Air Force then returns home for two league games with RIT, the preseason favorite to win the league and a team that beat 12th-ranked Minnesota on the Gophers' home ice. The next week, the Falcons host third-ranked Denver and then play at fourth-ranked Colorado College, Jan. 19. The end of January sends the Falcons to West Point for a two-game set with Army. Not only is this an emotional, physical series with a service academy rival, but the Black Knights are tied for second in the league.
Unbeaten Streak Ends Air Force's six-game unbeaten streak (3-0-3) ended Dec. 29 with the loss to Boston College. The streak was the team's longest since a six-gamer last season. It also tied as the third-longest in the nation at the time.
Series Records Air Force and Sacred Heart have played seven times and the Falcons hold a 4-0-3 lead in the series that began in 2000. The Falcons are 2-0-2 in Colorado and 2-0-1 on neutral ice. The series this weekend will be Air Force's first ever at Sacred Heart. The team's played three times last season.
Last Season vs. SHU Air Force and Sacred Heart met three times last season, twice in the regular season and once in the AHA Final Four. The Falcons and Pioneers skated to back-to-back overtime ties at the Academy (3-3 and 1-1). In the first game, Sacred Heart tied the game with 1:24 left in the third period on Alexandre Parent's goal. Brian Reese, Mike Phillipich and Josh Frider scored for the Falcons. Peter Foster stopped 22 of 25 shots for AFA. Jason Smith stopped 35 of 38 for the Pioneers. In the second game, Josh Schaffer's power play goal late in the first period tied the game at 1-1 and that was how it ended. Foster made 25 saves while Smith made 35. The teams met again in the AFA semifinals in Rochester, N.Y. AFA built a 3-1 lead in the second period on goals by Brett Nylander, Phillipich and Matt Fairchild. However, the Pioneers came back to take a 4-3 lead in the third. Ferraro scored on the power play at 1:18 and Jarman tied the game at 4:06. Giosa's goal at 7:50 gave the Pioneers a 4-3 lead. After Air Force pulled the goalie, Billy Devoney tied the game with 54 seconds left in the third period. Josh Print scored the game-winner at 8:04 when he redirected a Greg Flynn shot to give the Falcons a 5-4 overtime win and send AFA to the championship game.
Hajner Streaking Sophomore right winger Jeff Hajner has a career-best seven-game scoring streak. His point-streak ties as the longest by any Falcon this season as Eric Ehn also had a seven-gamer earlier in the season. Hajner's streak started Nov. 24 with a goal vs. Holy Cross. During the streak, the Las Vegas, Nev., native has four goals and four assists for eight points. He also has scored in 10 of the last 11 games and in 13 of the 18 this season. He is second on the team with seven goals and third with 16 points this season. Hajner had 27 points last season in 40 games as a freshman.
Olson on a Tear
Junior right winger Brent Olson has been as hot as any player in the league recently. The Baudette, Minn., native has eight goals in his last eight games. During the last eight games, Olson scored two goals vs. AIC, Nov. 30, two vs. Canisius, Dec. 8, and two vs. Minnesota, Dec. 30. In the Minnesota game, his second goal came after the Falcons pulled the goalie and tied the game at 2-2 with 1:02 remaining in the third period. As a result, Air Force earned a 2-2 overtime tie against Minnesota on the Gophers' home ice. Olson missed the final 18 games last season to focus on academics, but has come back strong this season. He leads the team with nine goals and is second on the team with 18 points.