Air Force hosts AIC, Feb. 29-March 1 at Cadet Ice Arena
Feb. 26, 2008
This Week Air Force (16-11-5, 13-9-4 AHA) hosts American International College (AIC) (8-20-4, 8-16-2 AHA), Fri.-Sat., Feb. 29-March 1, at 7:05 pm, at Cadet Ice Arena, USAFA, Colo. (2,502)
Radio/Internet Both games will be broadcast 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.
Home Ice Air Force has clinched home ice in the first round of the AHA Playoffs. The series will be a best two out of three with the winner advancing to Rochester, N.Y., for the AHA Final Five. The Falcons' opponent is yet to be determined, but the games will be played Friday-Saturday-Sunday, March 7-9, at Cadet Ice Arena. Game times will be 7:05 p.m. each night. For ticket information, please call the athletic ticket office at 1-800-666-USAF or online at www.GoAirForceFalcons.com.
Last Week Air Force earned its third straight victory by sweeping a two-game league series at Canisius, 3-0 and 4-3, in Buffalo, N.Y. AIC was swept by UConn, 4-2 at home and 4-2 in Connecticut
Rankings Air Force has received votes every week in the USCHO/CSTV poll. Based on the number of votes, Air Force is No. 26 in this week's poll. The Falcons also received votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll and are No. 21 based on the number of votes. Air Force peaked at No. 20 in the USCHO/CSTV poll and No. 18 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll the week of Jan. 21 AIC is unranked.
Scouting The Opponents AIC (American International College, Springfield, Mass.) is 8-20-4 overall and in 10th place in the league with an 8-16-4 mark. The Yellow Jackets have lost four straight, including two last week to UConn. In January and early February, AIC was 4-3-2 during a stretch of nine games before the current losing streak. Mike McMillan and Mark Pavli lead the team with 22 points. Senior Jereme Tendler leads the team with 10 goals. Freshman Dan Ramirez is the team's top goaltender with a 3.14 GAA and a 90.0 saves percentage.
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 165-200-29. His overall mark is 214-292-38. AIC coach Gary Wright is in his 24th season with the Yellow Jackets with a school and overall record of 253-403-48.
Series vs. AIC Air Force leads the series with AIC, 14-0. The Falcons are 8-0 vs. AIC at home, 4-0 in Springfield and 2-0 on neutral ice. The series began in 1980 at the Merrimack Tournament as AFA won 6-1. The teams didn't meet again until 2000 when the Falcons won back-to-back 4-2 games at AFA. AFA won all four games last season. AFA swept the series earlier this season at AIC, 6-3 and 4-2.
Earlier This Season Air Force swept AIC, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, in Springfield, Mass., 6-3 and 4-2. In the first game, AFA broke a 2-2 tie in the second period with three goals. Brent Olson scored twice in the first period for the Falcons. Matt Fairchild and Eric Ehn scored early in the second period for a 4-2 lead and Josh Frider added a goal midway through. Fairchild's second of the game came on the power play in the third period for a 6-2 lead. Ian Harper started the game in goal for AFA and made two saves while allowing two goals. Andrew Volkening came on and stopped 10 of 11 shots in the final 40 minutes. Tom Fenton started for AIC and was pulled after 28 minutes, giving up four goals on 17 shots. Dan Ramirez finished the game, stopping 20 of 22 in the final 32 minutes. AFA was 4-for-8 on the power play in the game. In the second game, Blake Page, Olson and Owen Kelly scored for Air Force in the first period. AIC scored early in the third period to make the score, 3-1, but Matt Charbonneau answered on the power play for a 4-2 lead. Volkening made 18 saves in the game while Ramirez had 29. AFA was 1-for-5 on the power play. The Falcons scored two short-handed goals in the series.
Tight Conference Race As many people expected, the Atlantic Hockey race is tight. With just one weekend left in the regular season, Air Force could finish as high as a tie for the regular-season championship and be the No. 1 seed in the tournament or could be the No. 5 seed. The tiebreaker formula is to the left.
AFA Ties Record for Regular-Season Division I Wins Air Force has 16 wins to tie the most regular-season Division I wins in school history. Air Force also had 16 Division I wins in the regular season (16-15-5) last season. The Falcons still have two regular-season games left this season. The school record for Division I wins in all games is 19 set last season when the Falcons won three games in the playoffs. The overall school record for victories was set in 1971-72 with 25 wins.
Volkening Sets School Record Scoreless Streak Sophomore goaltender Andrew Volkening set a new school record by shutting out Division I opponents for 133 consecutive minutes beginning with the Feb. 8 win over Mercyhurst. The Lakers scored at the 14:33 mark of the third period in a 3-1 AFA loss. He then blanked the Lakers, 7-0, the next night. After a weekend off, Volkening beat Canisius, 3-0, Feb. 22. In the second game, the Griffins scored at the 12:37 mark of the first period. Volkening broke the record of 131 consecutive Division I minutes set by Peter Foster in 2004. Volkening's streak is the second-longest in school history against all opponents. Pat Kielb's streak of 168 consecutive scoreless minutes came against Division II teams in 1994. Kielb posted back-to-back shutouts vs. Mankato State (then Division II) and still holds the school record with eight straight shutout periods. Volkening is the first goalie in school history to have back-to-back shutouts vs. Division I teams.
Senior Night Saturday night's game vs. AIC, March 1, will be the final regular-season home game for seven Falcon seniors. Bryan Becker, Matt Charbonneau, Eric Ehn, Ian Harper, Josh Print, Josh Schaffer and Frank Schiavone will make their final regular-season home appearance at Cadet Ice Arena. This senior class was part of the first service academy team to ever win a league championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament. The class has won more Division I games, 60, than any other in school history. The group has played in a combined 707 games with 295 points and eight wins from the goaltender (Harper).
Winning Season Clinched With two wins last week at Canisius, Air Force has clinched a winning season for the second consecutive season. The Falcons are 16-11-5 overall this season with two regular-season game remaining and at least two playoff games left. Head coach Frank Serratore has led the Falcons to consecutive winning seasons for the first time in his 11 years. It also marks the first time in 18 years (1988-89 and 1989-90) that Air Force has had consecutive winning seasons.
Scoring by Committee
Air Force is one of the most balanced scoring teams in the league. The Falcons are one of only two teams in the league with two players who have 13 or more goals this season (RIT is the other). Both Brent Olson and Jeff Hajner each have 13 goals this season. The Falcons don't have one player with more than 30 points yet, but Air Force does have seven players with 19 or more, more than any other team in the AHA. Olson leads the team with 29 points while Hajner has 28, Eric Ehn has 24, Greg Flynn has 23, Matt Fairchild has 22, Derrick Burnett has 20 and Josh Frider has 19. Last week vs. Canisius, six different Falcons scored the team's seven goals. Hajner had two while Burnett, Scott Kozlak, Blake Page, Greg Flynn and Frank Schiavone all scored. Three of the goals were scored by freshmen, two by sophomores.