Feb. 11, 2014
Air Force (17-9-4, 12-6-3 AHA) travels to Buffalo, N.Y., for a two-game series with the Canisius Golden Griffins (10-15-3, 9-9-3 AHA), Friday-Saturday, Feb. 14-15, at 7:05 p.m. ET each night at the Buffalo State Sports Arena. Air Force is tied for third place in the AHA with 27 points. Canisius is in seventh place with 21 points.
Inside the Standings
With three regular-season series remaining (six games), teams are positioning themselves for the playoffs. Mercyhurst leads the AHA with 30 points, while Bentley is second with 28 and UConn and Air Force are tied for third with 27. Robert Morris, on a nine-game unbeaten streak, is fifth with 26, Niagara is sixth with 22 points and Canisius is seventh with 21. The top four teams at the end of the regular season receive a bye in the first round of the playoffs. Seeds five through eight will host seeds nine through 12 in the first round, March 7-9, in a best of three series. The winners of those series will then travel to the top four seeds for a best of three series, March 14-16. The winners of those quarterfinal series will advance to the AHA Final Four in Rochester, N.Y., March 21-22.
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.
The Top Line
Air Force's top line of LW Scott Holm, C Chad Demers and RW Cole Gunner has combined for 98 points (37-61-98). The line has scored at least one goal in 24 of the 30 games this season. In games in which the top line scores, Air Force is 16-6-2. The line has combined for 40 percent of the team's goals and 39 percent of the team's points. In the Mercyhurst series, the line combined for six of the team's seven goals and nine of the team's 11 assists for a total of 15 points in the sweep of the first-place Lakers.
Series with Canisius
Air Force leads the all-time series vs. Canisius, 10-7-7. Nearly one-third of the games (seven of the 24) have ended in a tie. Six of the last seven, and 10 of the last 12, have been decided by one goal or ended in a tie. In the 10 games played in Buffalo, Air Force has a 5-2-3 lead in the series. Earlier this season, Air Force beat Canisius, 3-2, at the Academy. The teams met once last season in Buffalo, a 1-1 overtime tie. Three of the last four games in Buffalo have ended in a tie. In the last five games in Buffalo, AFA is 2-0-3 vs. Canisius. AFA's last loss in Buffalo was a 3-1 defeat in 2009. Canisius ended Air Force's season last year by sweeping the Falcons in the AHA Quarterfinals at the Cadet Ice Arena, 4-3 and 4-3 in overtime.
Earlier This Season vs. Canisius
Air Force scored three goals in a span of 2:28 in the second period for a come-from-behind, 3-2, win over Canisius, Oct. 25, at the Academy. After a scoreless first period in which the team combined for just 10 shots, the game opened up in the second period. Air Force and Canisius combined for 27 shots in the second period. Canisius scored two goals in a span of 1:42 for a 2-0 lead. Cody Freeman put the Griffs on the board when he scored from Ben Danford and Patrick Sullivan at 2:27. On the ensuing power play, Ralph Cuddemi scored from Duncan McKellar and Danford at 4:30. Shortly after falling behind, 2-0, the Falcons killed a Canisius power play. After the kill, Air Force got on the board at the 8:57 mark on Adam McKenzie's first of the season. Dan Weissenhofer fired a shot from the right point that was saved and freshman Ryan Dau fed McKenzie at the left point. His shot through traffic, including a screen by Max Birkinbine, cut the Griffs lead to 2-1. Two minutes later, Tony Thomas tied the game on the power play. Weissenhofer made a pass to Thomas on the right post. His first shot was saved, but he put back the rebound for his third of the season at the 10:48 mark. Thirty-seven seconds later, the Falcons took the lead as Cole Gunner scored. McKenzie forced a turnover in the neutral zone and fed Chad Demers. Demers gave it to Scott Holm on the right side who then found Gunner in the slot at 11:25. Neither team scored in the third period, but the Falcons had a 15-5 advantage in shots. Air Force outshot Canisius, 35-22, in the game. AFA was 1-for-4 on the power play while Canisius was 1-for-3. Jason Torf made 20 saves for the Falcons while Tony Capobianco had 32 stops.
Scouting the Griffs
Canisius is 10-15-3 overall and in seventh place in the AHA with a 9-9-3 record for 21 points. Last weekend, the Griffs picked up one point in a two-game series against Niagara with a 4-4 overtime tie at Niagara and a 4-2 loss at home. The Griffs are winless in their last three games and are 2-5-2 in the last nine games. Senior Kyle Gibbons leads the team with 13 goals and 28 points this season. Sophomore Ralph Cuddemi has 21 points. Senior Tony Capobianco and sophomore Keegan Asmundson have split time in the net the past several weekends. Capobianco has a 6-9-2 record this season with a 3.18 GAA and a .904 saves percentage. Asmundson has a 4-6-1 record with a 2.45 GAA and a .927 saves percentage. Asmundson started the 4-4 overtime tie last weekend with Niagara while Capobianco was in net for the 4-2 loss.