Feb. 13, 2013
This Week Air Force (12-10-7, 10-6-5 AHA) hosts a two-game Atlantic Hockey series against the Canisius Golden Griffins (11-14-5, 10-9-2 AHA), Friday-Saturday, Feb. 15-16, at 7:05 p.m. MT each night at the Cadet Ice Arena. Air Force is in third place in the league with 25 points while Canisius is tied for fourth with 22.
Scouting the Golden Griffins Canisius is tied for fourth place in the AHA with 22 points, three points behind Air Force. The Griffs have split their last three series, against first-place Niagara, fourth-place Holy Cross and second-place Mercyhurst. Last weekend, the Griffs beat No. 15 Niagara, 2-0, in Buffalo, handing Niagara just its second AHA loss of the season. The Purple Eagles came back for a 2-0 win in the second game in Niagara. Canisius is 6-9 on the road this season. Junior forward Kyle Gibbons leads the team with 14 goals and 22 points. He also has seven power-play goals. Junior goalie Tony Capobianco has a 2.11 GAA and a .932 saves percentage. He ranks third in the league in GAA and fourth in saves percentage.
Earlier This Season vs. Canisius Air Force and Canisius played a single game in Buffalo, Oct. 25, and skated to a 1-1 overtime tie. Kyle De Laurell's first goal of the season gave the Falcons a 1-0 lead in the first period. Canisius forward Taylor Law tied the game in the second period. Air Force outshot Canisius, 31-18, in the game. Jason Torf made 17 saves while Tony Capobianco made 30 for the Griffs.
Tight Race Niagara has 36 points to lead Atlantic Hockey and the Purple Eagles have a 10-point lead over second-place Mercyhurst. However, after Niagara, the race is air-tight. There are seven teams within six points of each other with six regular-season games (12 points) left for most teams. Mercyhurst is in second place (26 points) followed by Air Force (25), Holy Cross (22), Canisius (22), Robert Morris (21), UConn (20) and RIT (20).
A Turn for the Better After a slow start, the Air Force hockey team enjoyed its best January in many years. AFA completed the month of January with a 5-1-1 record, the best mark since the Falcons went 9-2 in January in 1986-87. After getting three points at Mercyhurst last weekend, Air Force is 6-1-3 in the last 10 games. Air Force had a seven-game unbeaten streak that ended Feb. 2 with an overtime loss to AIC. The streak was the second-longest in the nation at the time.
Groundhog Day - Falcon Style The beginning of February means that Punxsutawney Phil will search for his shadow in western Pennsylvania and the Air Force hockey team will start to play better. Since Air Force joined Atlantic Hockey for the 2006-07 season, the Falcons have played their best hockey in February and March. Beginning with that season, Air Force is 24-20-13 in the month of January (including a 5-1-1 mark this season). The Falcons are 36-18-5 (65 percent) in the months of February and March (including this season, but not including the NCAA Tournament). Air Force was 5-2-1 in February last season. AFA is currently 1-1-2 in February this season.
Series vs. the Golden Griffs Air Force leads the all-time series vs. Canisius, 7-5-7. Five of the last seven games in the series have ended in a tie. Air Force is unbeaten in the last eight games against the Griffs (3-0-5). Canisius is one of only two teams (Mercyhurst) to have a winning record over Air Force in games played in Colorado. In nine games played in Colorado, Canisius has a 3-2-4 record. But, Air Force is unbeaten in the last three games against Canisius at AFA (1-0-2). The last Canisius win in the series was a 3-1 win in Buffalo in 2009. Last season, the teams played three times and AFA won the series with a 1-0-2 record. The teams played once at Air Force and the teams skated to a 3-3 overtime tie. The last time the two teams played a two-game series at Air Force was in 2011 and AFA took three points. In 2008-09, Air Force's most successful season ever with 28 wins and a trip to the NCAA Elite Eight, Canisius swept a two-game series at Air Force in January, 5-4 and 4-2. AFA lost just 11 games that season.
School Record for Ties - Tied
Air Force's seven ties this season ties the school record set last season. The previous record of six came in 2007-08, 2009-10 and 2010-11.
The Falcons have played 10 overtime games this season, one shy of tying the school record of 11 set in 2007-08. AFA also played 10 overtime games last season.
Air Force is 1-2-7 in overtime this season