Falcons travel to Canisius for two-game league series
Feb. 18, 2008
This Week Air Force (14-11-5, 11-9-4 AHA) travels to Buffalo for a two-game league series with at Canisius (10-16-5, 9-11-4 AHA), Fri.-Sat., Feb. 22-23, 7:05/3:05 pm, at the Buffalo State Sports Arena.
Radio/Internet Both games will be broadcast. Friday's game will be broadcast to the internet only at GoAirForceFalcons.com. Saturday's game will be on the radio on KKML AM 1300 The Sports Animal and on the internet at GoAirForceFalcons.com. Jay Ritchie will do the play-by-play while Dave Toller will do the color. The pregame show begins 20 minutes prior to faceoff each night.
Video Streaming/Television Both games will be video streamed with audio by the B2 Network on a subscription basis. For more information, please go to the Atlantic Hockey Association web-site at AtlanticHockeyOnline.com. No television.
Last Week Air Force was off. The Falcons split two games at Mercyhurst, losing on Friday, 3-1, and winning on Saturday, 7-0, Feb. 8-9 Canisius split at home vs. Holy Cross, losing on Saturday, 3-2 and winning on Sunday, 2-1, Feb. 15-16
Rankings Air Force has received votes every week in the USCHO/CSTV poll. Based on the number of votes, Air Force was No. 29 in last week's. The Falcons did not receive votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll or the InsideCollegeHockey.com poll. Air Force peaked at No. 20 in the poll the week of Jan. 21. The current poll will be released the afternoon of Feb. 18. Canisius is unranked
Scouting The Opponents Canisius is 10-16-5 overall and 9-11-4 and tied for sixth place in the AHA with 22 points. The Golden Griffins have won three of their last five with wins over first-place RIT and third-place Sacred Heart. The Griffs are 8-3-1 at home this season. Sophomore Josh Heidinger and freshman Vincent Scarsella are tied for the team scoring lead with 24 points. Sophomore Jason Weeks and senior David Kasch lead the team with 10 goals. Sophomore Andrew Loewen is the team's top goaltender with a .916 saves percentage and a 2.79 saves percentage. However, Loewen was injured in the Sacred Heart game, Feb. 2, and has not played since. The last two weeks, senior Bryce Luker and freshman Taylor Anderson have split time, however, Anderson started both games last week vs. Holy Cross.
The Coaches Air Force coach Frank Serratore (Bemidji State, 1982) is in his 11th season with the Falcons and his 15th as a collegiate head coach. He has an Air Force record of 162-200-28. His overall mark is 211-292-37. Canisius coach Dave Smith is in his third year with the Golden Griffins with a school and overall record of 29-62-8.
Series Records Canisius and Air Force have played six times and the series is dead even with each team winning two and two games ending in ties. Last season, the teams split the two-game series at each site. At Canisius, Air Force won the first game, 5-3, while Canisius won the second game, 4-1. The teams again met in mid-February last season at the Academy and again split the two-game series. Canisius won the first game, 4-2, while AFA earned the split with a 5-0 win the next night. After the 4-2 loss on Feb. 16, AFA did not lose again until the NCAA West Regional. The Falcons rolled up six consecutive wins before falling to top-seeded Minnesota, 4-3, in the NCAA Quarterfinals. Earlier this season, Canisius and Air Force skated to back-to-back 3-3 overtime ties at the Cadet Ice Arena.
Earlier This Season The two teams skated to consecutive 3-3 overtime ties at the Cadet Ice Arena, Dec. 7-8. In the first game, Canisius scored two goals in the first period and held a 2-0 lead entering the third period. The Falcons then scored the next three goals to take a 3-2 lead. Scott Kozlak, Josh Schaffer and Jeff Hajner scored for Air Force. However, Vincent Scarsella tied the game with 1:27 remaining in the third period. Volkening made 17 saves while Andrew Loewen made 32 for Canisius. In the second game. Each team scored twice in the first period. Brent Olson's two goals gave AFA a 2-0 lead. Canisius tied the game later in the period. Hajner scored early in the second period but Jason Weeks answered later in the period for a 3-3 tie. That was how the game ended. Volkening made 21 stops while Loewen made 40.
Tight Conference Race As many people expected, the Atlantic Hockey race is tight. The top five teams in the league are separated by just five points and there are eight points on the table the next two weeks. Army jumped into first place with a sweep last week and has 31 points. Sacred Heart jumped into second place with 29 points. RIT is in third with 28 points while Mercyhurst is fourth with 27 and Air Force is fifth with 26. Close behind are Bentley and Canisius tied for sixth with 22 points, just four points from cracking the top five and hosting a first-round playoff series.
Special Teams Decides Games When Air Force wins the battle of special teams, AFA is 7-1-1 this season. The Falcons are just 2-6-2 when losing it. AFA is 5-4-2 when the special teams are tied. The Falcons are +2 on special teams this season. Over the last two seasons, Air Force is 22-1-5 when winning the special teams and 4-20-3 when losing it. The first time in the last two years that Air Force has won the special teams and lost the game came in a 2-1 loss at Army, Jan. 27.
Special Teams Peaking
By scoring four power-play goals in the second game at Mercyhurst, Feb. 9, and killing 10 Laker power plays, the Air Force special teams number are the highest they have been all season. The Air Force power play is connecting on 16.2 percent of it chances (27-167) to rank fifth in the AHA and 27th in the nation. The Falcon penalty kill is at 82.1 percent (115-140) to rank fifth in the AHA and 40th in the nation.