No. 14 Air Force off until Jan. 16-17
Jan. 6, 2009
This Week No. 14 Air Force (15-4-1, 12-1-1 AHA) is off until Jan. 16-17 when the Falcons host Canisius (7-6-4, 5-4-2) at the Cadet Ice Arena in a two-game Atlantic Hockey Association series. The faceoff is at 7:05 p.m. MT each night.
Radio/Internet Both games will be broadcast live in Colorado Springs on KCSF AM 1300 and on the internet at www.GoAirForceFalcons.com. The pregame show begins 20 minutes prior to faceoff. Jay Ritchie will call the play-by-play while Dave Toller will provide the analysis. Both games will also be video streamed live 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 Air Force played four games in seven days in Connecticut. The Falcons tied UConn, 2-2, and then lost to Quinnipiac, 4-2, and placed second in the UConn Toyota Classic. AFA then defeated UConn, 4-3, to take three points in the league series, Jan. 3. The trip came to a close with a 3-2 loss at Yale.
Rankings Air Force is ranked 14th in both the USCHO/CBS College Sports and the USA Today/USA Hockey magazine polls. The Falcons were 11th and 12th, respectively, in the last polls on Dec. 15. AFA was No. 15 in the InsideCollegeHockey.com power rankings. Canisius is not ranked.
More on the Rankings Air Force is ranked 11th in the RPI, 17th in the PairWise and 23rd in the KRACH. The KRACH, PairWise and RPI rankings use sophisticated mathematical formulas based on a team's winning percentage and the strength of schedule. KRACH is endorsed by College Hockey News as the best system to objectively rank teams. The PairWise rankings are similar to the model used by the NCAA Selection Committee. Although the PWR does not precisely duplicate the method used by the committee, the PWR has exactly predicted the NCAA tournament entries in each of the last eight years. Air Force was ranked No. 1 in both the KRACH and PairWise rankings on Dec. 2 for the first time in school history.
The Coaches Frank Serratore (Bemidji State, 1982) is in his 12th season as the head coach of Air Force. He has led the Falcons to back-to-back conference championships and NCAA berths. Serratore is the winningest coach in the history of Air Force hockey with a record of 185-205-31 and a career mark of 234-297-40 in his 16th year. Dave Smith (Ohio State, 1992) is in his fourth year at Canisius with a school and overall record of 37-72-5.
Scouting the Opponents Canisius (Buffalo, N.Y.) is 7-6-4 overall and in third place in the AHA with a 5-4-2 record. While Air Force is off this week, Canisius plays a two-game league series at home vs. Bentley. Junior forward Jason Weeks leads the team with 15 assists and 17 points. Freshman Dave Kostuch leads the team with nine goals. Kostuch is the top scoring freshman in the league with 16 points. Goaltender Andrew Loewen is second in the league (behind Andrew Volkening) with a 2.44 GAA an a .926 saves percentage. The Golden Griffins are fourth in the league in scoring offense (2.88) and second in scoring defense (2.53). Series Records Air Force and Canisius have played six times and the Falcons hold a 3-1-2 lead in the series that began in 2006. All games have been played at AHA foes. The only meetings at Cadet Ice Arena came last season when the two teams skated to back-to-back 3-3 overtime ties. AFA is 3-1-0 in games played in Buffalo.
The FLO Line The Falcons' line of Frider, Lamoureux and Olson dominated early in the season, went through a cold stretch and is back on track. The "FLO" line is still the top scoring line in the nation. Jacques Lamoureux (center) is third in the nation in scoring with 1.50 points per game (30 points). Brent Olson (right wing) is 10th in the nation with 1.30 points (26 points). Josh Frider (left wing) is 31st in the country with 1.10 points per game (22 points). In the first eight games, the line had 21 goals and 48 points. Then in the next 10 games, the line combined for seven goals and 16 points. The line got back on track vs. UConn, Jan. 3 with three of the team's four goals. In the last two games, the line has combined for five goals and 11 points.
Scoring Slump Air Force is still the nation's top scoring team.However, the Falcons have struggled to score goals compared to early in the season. After the CC win on Nov. 28, the Falcons were averaging 5.17 goals per game and had scored five or more goals in six of the 13 games. However, in the last seven games, Air Force is averaging 2.14 goals per game. AFA was 13-0 in the first 13 games and is 2-4-1 in the last seven. AFA has scored two goals or less in six of the last seven. The Falcons scored four in the 4-3 win over UConn, Jan. 3.
Nation's Top Scoring Team Air Force is the top scoring team in the nation, averaging 4.05 goals per game. Air Force has scored three or more goals in 12 of the 20 games and has scored five or more six times. Boston University is second in the nation with 3.72 goals per game. The Falcons are fifth in the nation in scoring defense (1.75 goals allowed per game). Air Force's scoring margin (+2.30 goals per game) is the best in the nation.
National Leaders Senior Greg Flynn is the top scoring defenseman in the nation with 1.20 points per game (4-20-24 in 20 games). Flynn is 20th in the nation among all players in scoring and is the only defenseman in the top 35. Flynn is also third in the nation with 1.00 assists per game. Jacques Lamoureux leads the nation with 11 power-play goals and five game-winners. Lamoureux is third in the nation in scoring with 1.50 points per game (17-13-30) and goals (0.85). Brent Olson is 12th in the nation with 1.31 points per game (5-21-26) and is tied for second in the nation in assists with 1.05 per game.
Volkening Among Best in the Nation
Many Air Force fans have thought for the last two years that one of the best goaltenders in the nation resides at the Air Force Academy. Now, the statistics prove that. Junior goaltender Andrew Volkening set four school records during the 2007-08 season including goals-against average (2.09), saves percentage (.911) Division I wins (21). Volkening is on pace to shatter all of those marks. He currently ranks sixth in goals-against average (1.63) and ninth in the nation in saves percentage (.932). His 15 wins are tops in the nation. Volkening also has three shutouts this season and eight for his career.