Jan. 8, 2013
This Week Air Force (6-9-4 overall, 4-5-2 in AHA), hosts service academy rival, Army (7-9-2 overall and 7-4-2 AHA) in a two-game Atlantic Hockey series, Friday-Saturday, Jan. 11-12, at Cadet Ice Arena. Air Force is in eighth place in the AHA with 10 points while Army is in second place with 16 points. Friday's faceoff is at 7:05 p.m. MT while Saturday's game is at 4:05 p.m. Saturday's game will be televised nationally by the CBS Sports Network.
Scouting the Black Knights Army is in second place in the AHA with 16 points and a 7-4-2 record. The Black Knights are 7-9-2 overall, having lost all five non-conference games. Army has won two of the last three, including a 1-0 win at Canisius and a 5-0 home win over Robert Morris. Prior to RMU's loss at Army, the No. 19 Colonials were on a seven-game unbeaten streak, had shutout fifth-ranked Miami to win the Three Rivers Classic. Army is 3-3-2 overall on the road this season and 3-1-2 in road conference games. Senior forward Andy Starczewski leads the team with 12 assist and 17 points this season. Freshman Thane Heller leads the team with six goals. Freshman Joe Kozlak, the younger brother of 2011 Air Force graduate Scott Kozlak, is fourth on the team with nine points. Sophomore Rob Tadazak and senior Ryan Leets have split time in the nets. Tadazak has a 3-5-1 record with a 2.66 GAA and a .916 saves percentage. Leets has a 4-4-1 record with a 3.23 GAA and a .909 saves percentage. Tadazak has started the last three games.
Series with the Black Knights Air Force and Army have played 55 times and AFA holds a 31-20-4 lead in the series that began in 1976. AFA is 4-1-1 vs. Army in the last six games. Just five of the 55 games have gone into overtime (ties in 1990, 1999, 2010 and 2012 and the Army win in 2005). Fifteen games have been decided by one goal and 10 by two goals. In games when there were four or more combined goals, AFA is 28-11-4. In games when less than four combined goals are scored, Air Force is 3-9. AFA is 18-6-2 all-time vs. Army in games played at the Cadet Ice Arena. The teams last played at Cadet Ice Arena in 2011, a split. AFA won the first game, 5-1, while Army won the second game, 5-4. As AHA rivals, the teams have played 15 times and Air Force has an 8-5-2 lead in the series beginning in 2006-07. The teams have played 12 times in the AHA regular season and the series is dead even at 5-5-2. AFA is 3-0 vs. Army in the playoffs (2007 Championship Game and two games in the 2010 Quarterfinals). Air Force took three points from Army last season at West Point with a 3-3 overtime tie and a 4-2 win (more details on page three of this release).
Last Season vs. the Black Knights Air Force took three points in the series at West Point last season. The teams skated to a 3-3 overtime tie in the first game while AFA won game two, 4-2. In the first game, Paul Weisgarber gave the Falcons a 3-2 lead early in the third period. Army tied the game with 3:39 remaining on a short-handed goal. Stephen Caple made 18 saves for AFA while Ryan Leets made 27 for Army. Tim Kirby and John Kruse also scored for the Falcons. In the second game, Kruse scored in the first period and Weisgarber scored in the second for a 2-0 AFA lead. Jason Fabian's goal midway through the third period gave the Falcons a 3-1 lead. Fabian then scored a short-handed, empty-netter with 25 seconds remaining for a 4-1 lead. Army added a power-play goal with one second left in the game. Jason Torf made 16 saves for the Falcons while Rob Tadazak made 24 for the Black Knights. AFA outshot Army, 58-39, in the series.
Production top to bottom
The majority of Air Force's points this season have come from the top two lines, but in the last two games, the Falcons have gotten production from all four lines.
AFA's top line of Tony Thomas (LW), Chad Demers (C) and John Kruse (RW) have combined for 40 points (16-24-40) this season. The second line of Kyle De Laurell (LW), Stephen Carew (C) and Cole Gunner (RW) have combined for 46 points (18-27-44).
However, in the 6-1 win over Alabama-Huntsville (Dec. 30), all four lines scored for the Falcons.
In the 4-3 loss to Niagara last Saturday, two of the Falcons three goals came from the third and fourth line. The third line combined for an even strength goal to tie the game at 3-3 in the third period as Scott Holm scored from Ben Carey and Ben Persian.
AFA's first goal of the game came as the fourth line received some power-play time and scored when Ryan Timar put back a rebound of a Jason Fabian shot.