Falcons travel to Sacred Heart
Jan. 15, 2013
This Week Air Force (7-9-5 overall, 5-5-3 in AHA), travels to Sacred Heart (0-19-2, 0-13-2 AHA), for a two-game Atlantic Hockey series, Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 19-20. Air Force is tied for sixth place in the AHA with 13 points while Sacred Heart is in 12th place with two points. Both games will be played at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn., the home of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL. Saturday's faceoff is at 4:05 p.m. ET time while Sunday's game starts at 12:05 p.m. ET.
The Coach Head coach Frank Serratore is in his 16th season at Air Force with a record of 262-259-56 record (577 games). He is the winningest coach in the history of Air Force hockey, having led Air Force to five AHA championships and five NCAA Tournaments in the last six years. In his 20th season as a collegiate head coach, he has an overall record of 311-352-64 (727 games).
The Good, the Bad and the Strange at Webster Bank Arena Air Force has played four games at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn., and the Falcons are 1-3 with two overtime losses. Air Force's first game in the Arena came in the 2009 NCAA East Regional and the Falcons upset third-ranked Michigan, 2-0, to advance to the NCAA Elite Eight. The next day, Vermont beat Air Force, 3-2, in double overtime to advance to the NCAA Frozen Four. A video review of nearly 15 minutes, determined that the game-winning shot went through the net to end the Falcons' season. Two years later, Air Force played a regular-season game against Sacred Heart and the Falcons lost 4-2 (Jan. 8, 2011). Later that season, Air Force faced third-ranked Yale in the 2011 NCAA East Regional and the Bulldogs put back a rebound in overtime to beat the Falcons, 2-1.
Scouting the Pioneers Sacred Heart is 0-19-2 overall this season and 0-13-2 in the AHA for 12th place. The Pioneers have lost 10 straight since a 2-2 tie with AIC at home, Nov. 17. Sacred Heart was swept at home last weekend by Canisius, 5-1 and 6-3. Sophomore Brian Sheehan leads the team with eight goals and 17 points. Senior Eric Delong has 10 assists and also has 17 points. Senior Steven Legatto, sophomore Andrew Bondarchuk and freshman Fredrik Melander have split time in goal. Legatto has a 4.11 GAA and a .882 saves percentage in 13 games. Bondarchuk has a 5.24 GAA and a .861 saves percentage in 11 games. Melander has a 5.30 GAA and a .874 saves percentage in five games. The Pioneers are scoring 2.10 goals per game while allowing 5.14.
Series with the Pioneers Air Force leads the overall series with Sacred Heart, 17-6-4. Air Force has won four straight in the series. dating back to a 4-2 loss at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn., in 2011. AFA swept Sacred Heart by scores of 2-1 and 3-2 last season in Colorado. AFA is 0-1 vs. Sacred Heart at Webster Bank Arena. AFA is 0-3-1 in the last four games against Sacred Heart in Connecticut. AFA's last win vs. the Pioneers in Connecticut was a 4-3 overtime win on Oct. 11, 2008. AFA is 3-4-1 vs. the Pioneers all-time in Connecticut. As AHA rivals, the teams have met 23 times and AFA holds a 14-6-3 advantage. AFA has an 11-4-3 lead in regular season games. The Falcons have a 3-2 lead in playoff games, including a 5-4 overtime win in the 2007 AHA semifinals that propelled the Falcons to their first AHA title. Sacred Heart holds the distinction of being the only AHA team to end the Falcons season since Air Force joined the league in 2006-07. Sacred Heart beat Air Force, 2-1, in the 2010 AHA Semifinals.
Last Season vs. the Pioneers Air Force swept a two-game regular-season series with Sacred Heart last season by scores of 2-1 and 3-2 at the Academy. In the first game, AFA outshot Sacred Heart, 38-14, but it took a John Kruse goal in third period to break a 1-1 tie. Stephen Caple made 13 saves for AFA while Steven Legatto made 36 for the Pioneers. Chad Demers also scored for Air Force. In the second game, John Kruse's second goal of the series gave the Falcons a 2-0 lead in the first period. After SHU's Eric Delong scored, Scottt Mathis gave the Falcons a 3-1 lead with a power-play goal in the third period. SHU's Tye Lewis scored an extra-attacker goal with 39 seconds left, but the Falcons held on for the sweep. AFA out-shot SHU, 42-30. Caple made 28 saves for the Falcons while Legatto made 39 for the Pioneers.