Jan. 29, 2014
Air Force (14-8-4, 9-5-3 AHA) hosts a two-game Atlantic Hockey series against the UConn Huskies (12-7-4, 10-4-3 AHA), Friday-Saturday, Jan. 31-Feb. 1, at the Academy’s Cadet Ice Arena. Friday’s game starts at 7:05 p.m. MT while Saturday’s faceoff is at 5:05 p.m. MT. Air Force is in fourth place with 21 points while UConn is in third with 23.
Saturday night’s Air Force-UConn game will begin at 5:05 p.m. MT, two hours earlier than the usual start time.
All games will be broadcast in Colorado Springs on The Animal AM 1300 and on the internet at www.GoAirForceFalcons.com. Jay Ritchie will call the play-by-play. Dave Toller will be the color analyst. Pregame show begins 30 minutes before faceoff each day. All games will be video streamed live on AmericaOne.com.
Frank Serratore is in his 17th season at Air Force with a record of 286-271-62 record (619 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 seven years. In 21 seasons as a collegiate head coach, he has an overall record of 335-363-71 (769 games).
Chad Demers leads the team with 30 points and 19 assists and is tied for the team lead with 11 goals. Demers has scored a point in five of the last six and in 19 of the last 24 games. In AHA games only, Demers is eighth in the league in points (8-13-21) and 11th in goals (8). Cole Gunner is tied for the team lead with 11 goals and is second on the team with 18 assists and 29 points. Gunner had a 10-game point streak, the longest by a Falcon since 2008-09, that ended at Robert Morris, Jan. 24. He has scored in 11 of the last 12 and in 19 of the last 23. In AHA games only, Gunner is 11th in the league in points (7-11-18) Alex Halloran is the team’s top scoring defenseman and is tied for sixth in the AHA (AHA games only) in points by a defenseman with 11 (3-8-11). Dan Weissenhofer is 11th in AHA games only with nine points (2-7-9). Senior Tony Thomas has four game-winners this season, tied for third in the nation. Sophomore Max Hartner has played in 18 games this season, the first eight at left wing, the next six on defense, then two at left wing and the last two on defense. He has scored four points (2-2-4) points at forward and one goal while playing defense. Freshman goalie Chris Truehl has started the last seven games. After winning his first five starts, he is now 5-2-0 on the season. In nine games this season, he has a 1.88 GAA and a .925 saves percentage. He has twice been named the AHA Rookie of the Week. In AHA games only, Truehl is second in the AHA with a 1.94 GAA and is fourth with a .923 saves percentage. Jason Torf is out until at least mid- February with a groin strain suffered in the third period of AFA’s 3-2 win over No. 4 Providence, Dec. 30, and has missed the last eight games.
Series with UConn
Air Force and UConn have played 30 times and the Falcons hold a 20-6-4 lead in the series that began in 1987. As AHA foes, AFA holds a 12-5-4 lead in the series beginning in the 2006-07 season. In games played at the Academy, Air Force is 16-2-1. The teams last played at the Academy in 2011-12 and Air Force won four of the five games that season. Air Force swept the regular-season series, 3-1 and 4-3. The teams met in the AHA Quarterfinals and Air Force won two of three, winning the first game, 4-3, losing the second, 1-3, and winning the deciding third game, 4-3, en route to the team’s fifth AHA Championship. Not including empty-netters, 10 of the last 11 games have been decided by one goal or ended in a tie.
Last Season vs. UConn
UConn swept Air Force in a two-game league series in Connecticut. UConn won, 2-1 on Friday, and 3-2 in overtime on Saturday. In the first game, UConn goaltender Garret Bartus made 35 saves to lead the Huskies to a 2-1 win. UConn opened the scoring early in the second with a power-play goal by Alex Gerke. Air Force tied the game at the 10:49 mark on the rush as Kyle De Laurell scored. UConn re-gained the lead at 13:41 of the second period as Jordan Sims scored. Air Force outshot UConn, 36-29, in the game. Jason Torf made 27 saves for the Falcons while Bartus had 35 for the Huskies. AFA was 0-for-3 on the power play while UConn was 1-for-2. In the second game, Sean Ambrosie scored 35 seconds into overtime as Connecticut beat Air Force, 3-2. UConn opened the scoring midway through the first period when Trevor Gerling scored on a rebound at 10:23. Late in the first period, Air Force tied the game on a goal by Ryan Timar. Air Force took its first lead of the series, with 15 seconds left in the second period. With the Huskies on the power play, Falcons defenseman Eric Artman scored short-handed for a 2-1 Falcons lead. UConn tied the game early in the third period when Cody Sharib scored on a wrap-around at the 3:04 mark. In overtime, the Falcons’ turned the puck over in their own end. UConn defenseman Tyler Helton intercepted a pass at the blue line and then took a shot from the right circle that was saved. Sean Ambrosie put back the rebound 35 seconds into overtime for a 3-2 Husky win. UConn outshot Air Force, 39-24, in the game. AFA was 0-for-2 on the power play while UConn was 0-for-3. Jason Torf made 36 saves for the Falcons while Garret Bartus made 22 for the Huskies.
Scouting the Huskies
UConn is 12-7-4 overall this season and 10-4-3 for third place in the league. The Huskies are unbeaten in their last four games with two ties at league-leading Mercyhurst two weeks ago and then two one-goal wins over AIC last weekend. Since Thanksgiving weekend, UConn has lost just twice (8-2-3). Three of the team’s top four scorers are seniors (Jordan Sims, 6-12-18; Billy Latta, 9-8-17; and Brant Harris, 8-7-15). Senior goalie Matt Grogan ranks fourth in the conference in GAA (2.48) and saves percentage (.920) in all games. The Huskies lead the conference, and are 17th in the nation, in scoring defense allowing just 2.39 goals per game. UConn is also third in the league and 11th in the nation with a 21.8 power-play percentage.