Air Force (19-8-5, 16-5-3 AHC) travels to Rochester, N.Y., for a two-game league series with the RIT Tigers (12-18-1, 12-13-0 AHC), Friday-Saturday, Feb. 17-18, at 7:05 pm ET each night. Air Force is in second place in the AHC while RIT is tied for sixth.
With three points last week against AIC, the Falcons clinched a first-round bye and home ice in the AHC quarterfinals. Air Force can finish no lower than a tie for third place and will be off the weekend of March 3-5. Air Force will host a quarterfinal series, March 10-12. In Air Force's 11 years in Atlantic Hockey, the Falcons have hosted a quarterfinal series 10 times.
Air Force is currently in second place in the league, one point behind Canisius. Canisius has played one more game than Air Force has up to this point.
Air Force's six-game unbeaten streak (5-0-1) is the sixth-longest in the nation. Cansius holds the longest streak at 12 games (9-0-3). During the streak, Air Force has out-scored its opponents, 25-8. Since Dec. 9, Air Force is 12-2-2, the second best winning percentage (81.2) in the nation over the last 16 games. Providence, ranked 11th in the nation, has the best winning percentage (13-2-1, 84.4).
The National Rankings
Air Force is in the national rankings for the second straight week, standing at 19th in the USCHO.com poll. It is the third week the Falcons have been ranked this season. The Falcons were No. 18 on Oct. 10 after winning the Ice Breaker Tournament. Air Force was No. 20 last week. Air Force is 20th in the PairWise rankings and receiving votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.
Both games will be broadcast on Xtra Sports 1300. Both games are available online at GoAirForceFalcons.com. Jay Ritchie will call the play-by-play while Dave Toller will provide color analysis. Pregame show begins 30 minutes before faceoff each day. Both games will be streamed on AtlanticHockey.tv for a subscription fee.
* Air Force's 19 wins are tied as the third most in the nation (Denver and Union have 20). The .672 winning percentage is the ninth best in the nation.
* Air Force's 11 road wins are tied as the second most in the nation (Union has 12).
* Air Force and RIT met back in October at the Academy and the Falcons won both by identical 4-3 scores.
* Air Force ranks first in the AHC and fifth in the nation in faceoff winning percentage at 54.5 percent.
* Air Force is 17-1-3 when scoring three or more goals in a game.
Tyler Ledford has scored in eight straight games, (4-5-9) ... Phil Boje has scored a point in six straight (2-5-7) ... He scored the game-tying goal in the overtime tie against AIC, Feb. 11 ... Boje is second in the league in points by defenseman in all games (6-17-23) ... Himley has scored in four straight games (1-7-8) ... Himley had four assists in AIC series and leads the team with 15 goals and 27 points ... Himley ranks fifth in the league in points and fourth in goals ... A.J. Reid has five goals in his last four games ... He has scored in four straight games (5-1-6) ... In his first 18 games, Reid had three points (1-2-3) ... In his last his last 14 games, he has 11 points (8-3-11) ... Matt Koch tied his career high with two points (1-1-2) vs. AIC, Feb. 11 ... Ben Kucera returned to the lineup after missing nine games due to injury and had two assists in AIC series.
RIT (12-18-1, 12-13-0) is tied for sixth in Atlantic Hockey with 24 points. The Tigers, picked to win the league in the preseason poll, have suffered through a plethora of injuries this season. After losing nine of 11 in December and January, RIT has split it last two series against teams in the top half of the standings (at Robert Morris and home last week vs. Holy Cross). Sophomore Erik Brown leads the team with 25 points (15-10-25). Senior Mike Rotolo has played nearly every minute in goal and has a .899 saves percentage and a 2.69 GAA.
Series vs. RIT
Air Force leads the all-time series vs. RIT, 25-20-4. The teams played earlier this season and the Falcons won both game by a 4-3 score. In the last 14 games, Air Force has won six games while RIT has won five with one tie. Thirty-eight of the 49 games have been decided by two goals or less with 15 games going into overtime. Both Air Force and RIT joined Atlantic Hockey in 2006 and, since then, the teams have played 40 times. Air Force has won 21, RIT has won 16 and three have ended in a tie. The teams have met six times in the playoffs, and each team has won three. RIT has ended Air Force's season each of the last two years, in the quarterfinals in 2015 and in the semifinals in 2016. Prior to that, Air Force had beaten RIT three times in the playoffs, the 2008 semifinals and the 2011 and 2012 championship games. RIT and Air Force have combined to win eight of the last 10 tournament titles. Air Force won it in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012. RIT won it in 2010, 2015 and 2016. Canisius won it 2013 while Robert Morris won it in 2014.