Falcons travel to Alabama-Huntsville
This Week: Air Force (4-9-1, 2-2 College Hockey America) travels to the "Hockey Capitol of the South" as the Falcons face Alabama-Huntsville (6-7-1, 2-2 CHA) in a two-game College Hockey America series, Fri.-Sat., Jan. 6-7, at the Von Braun Center. The faceoff times are Friday at 7:05 and Saturday at 4:05 p.m. CST.
Radio/Television/Internet: No television or radio for the UAH series.
The Battle for Third: The Air Force-Alabama-Huntsville series this week is a match-up of two teams tied for third place in the CHA. Each team is 2-2 in league play for four points. UAH was picked to win the CHA while Air Force was picked to finish last (sixth). Niagara is in first place in the CHA with 11 points, while Bemidji State is in second with eight points.
The Coaches: Air Force coach Frank Serratore (Bemidji State, 1982) is in his ninth season at Air Force and his 13th as a collegiate head coach. He has a 123-162-19 record at AFA and an overall mark of 172-254-28. UAH coach Doug Ross is in his 24th season at the school. He has a 428-243-39 record at UAH and a 484-278-41 overall record in 27 years as a college head coach.
Scouting the Opponents: Alabama-Huntsville is 6-7-1 overall this season and tied for third place in the CHA with Air Force with a 2-2 record. However, UAH has lost three straight against non-conference opponents Princeton, Nebraska-Omaha and Minnesota State-Mankato. Junior David Nimmo leads the team with seven goals. Senior goalie Scott Munroe is one of the top tenders in the conference with a .902 saves percentage.
Best CHA Start: Air Force's 2-2 start in CHA games this season matches the best conference start in school history. With four league points, the Falcons are four points behind second-place Bemidji State and are tied with Alabama-Huntsville for third. Air Force also started the CHA 2-2 last season by getting swept at Alabama-Huntsville and then sweeping at Robert Morris. AFA's other starts in CHA play are 0-4 in 2003-04; 1-3 in 2002-03; 0-4 in 2001-02; 1-2-1 in 2000-01; 1-3 in 1999-00 (the first season in the CHA). Air Force's best six-game CHA start came last season at 3-3.
Last Time at UAH: Air Force earned its first win in Huntsville since 1989, and the first in UAH's Division I era, by splitting the series last season. Alabama-Huntsville won the first game, 3-1, by scoring a goal in each period. Eric Ehn's goal in the third period cut the UAH lead to 2-1, but one minute later, UAH took a two-goal lead with a power play goal. UAH held a slim advantage in shots, 25-24, over Air Force. The curse of the Von Braun Center ended for Air Force as the Falcons beat UAH, 3-2. The win broke a 14-game losing streak for Air Force in the VBC, a streak that dates back to 1989. Andrew Ramsey scored on a power-play goal in the first period and then Theo Zacour and Eric Ehn scored in the second for a 3-0 lead. UAH turned the game around early in the third period with a pair of power-play goals in the first five minutes. The majority of the third period turned into a frantic game in front of the Air Force net, but freshman goalie Ian Harper was stellar between the pipes, making a career-high 36 saves. Air Force outshot UAH in two of the three periods and 41-38 in the game.
Series Notes: Air Force and UAH have played 49 times and the Chargers hold a 34-13-2 lead in the series that began in 1984. The Falcons have won just two of the last 12 meetings, but own the most recent win in the series. In the last meeting between the two teams last season, AFA defeated UAH, 3-2, in Huntsville. It was the Falcons' first win in Huntsville since 1989. At the Cadet Ice Arena, UAH holds a 15-10-1 lead in the series. Since 1990, AFA has beaten UAH just five times (5-26-2). AFA is 19-3-1 in Huntsville.
Common Opponents: Air Force and UAH have both faced Maine and RIT in non-conference action with similar results. AFA lost to Maine, 3-1, while UAH lost 3-1 and 4-0 at Maine. AFA took three points from RIT at the Academy by scores of 3-2 and 2-2. UAH swept RIT in Rochester by scores of 3-2 and 4-1.
On a Tear: Sophomore center Eric Ehn is on a tear recently. Ehn earned CHA Offensive Player of the Week honors, Dec. 3, as he scored four goals and had seven points in the Wayne State series. He had career-bests of four goals and seven points in the series. In his last three games, Ehn has nine points and five goals, dating back to Army, Nov. 12. In his last five games, Ehn has six goals and 11 points. He had two points (1-1-2) in the first game against RIT, but was held scoreless in the second game, breaking a four-game scoring streak. With 10 goals in 14 games, Ehn is tied for ninth in the nation in goals per game with 0.71.
Power Play Getting Better: The Air Force power play has struggled, to say the least, all season. However, in the last four games, the power play is much improved. After going 0-for-13 against Army, the Falcons hit a low-water mark at 6.2 percent (4-80) to rank last in the nation. In the last four games, AFA is connecting on 24.1 percent with seven power play goals (7-for-29). The Falcons were 4-for-16 vs. Wayne State and 3-for-13 vs. RIT. On the season, AFA is now at 11.0 percent on the power play to rank 54th in the nation. If the Falcons maintained their current pace of 24.1 percent, they would rank fourth in the nation.
On Deck: Air Force returns home to host Niagara in a two-game CHA series, Jan. 13-14, at 7:05 p.m. each night at Cadet Ice Arena.
Last Week: Air Force took three points from RIT in a two-game non-conference series, Dec. 30-31, at the Cadet Ice Arena. AFA won the first game, 3-2, while the teams tied, 2-2, in the second game.