Falcons earn bye in AHA first round; host quarterfinals March 14-16
March 4, 2014
This Week Air Force (20-12-4, 15-9-3 AHA) finished the regular season tied for third in the AHA with UConn and earned a bye in the first round of the playoffs. Air Force is idle this weekend.
Quarterfinals Next at USAFA Air Force will host an Atlantic Hockey quarterfinal series, best of three, March 14-15 and March 16 if necessary, at the Academy’s Cadet Ice Arena. The faceoff will be at 7:05 p.m. MT each night. Tickets are available at GoAirForceFalcons.com or by calling the athletic ticket office at 719-472-1895. Air Force’s opponent will be determined by the AHA First Round games, March 7-9.
The Playoff Picture Mercyhurst won the regular-season title and is the No. 1 seed in the tournament with 40 points. Bentley is the No. 2 seed with 36 points. Air Force and UConn tied for third with 33 points, but the Falcons earned the third seed based on the tie breaker. The first tie-breaker is head-to-head and the teams split the two-game series. The second tiebreaker is conference wins and each team had 15. The third tiebreaker is goal-differential head-to-head, but that was even (AF 5-3 win; UConn 3-1 win). The fourth tiebreaker is goals allowed, but each team allowed six. The fifth tiebreaker is winning percentage against the No. 1 seed and then working down the standings. Air Force wins this tiebreaker as the Falcons were 2-1 (.667) vs. Mercyhurst while UConn was 0-0-2 (.500). This week, No. 5 seed Robert Morris hosts No. 12 Army; No. 6 seed Niagara hosts No. 11 AIC; No. 7 Canisius hosts No. 10 Sacred Heart; No. 8 Holy Cross hosts No. 9 RIT. The winners of the four first-round series will travel to the top four seeds for a best of three series, March 14-16. The teams will be reseeded after the first round with the lowest remaining seed travelling to Mercyhurst and so on.
Radio/Internet 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 108 points (39-69-108). The line has scored at least one goal in 27 of the 36 games this season. In games in which the top line scores, Air Force is 19-6-2. The line has combined for 39 percent of the team’s goals and 38 percent of the team’s points.
An Exclusive Club Air Force has finished in the top four of Atlantic Hockey and earned a bye for a league record eight straight years. In fact, Air Force is one of just two teams in the nation to finish in the top half of its league in eight or more seasons. North Dakota is the only other team as UND has finished in the top half of its league for 12 straight seasons and has clinched a top four spot in the NCHC this season. Denver is the only other team that could extend its streak as the Pioneers have finished in the top half of their league for 10 straight season. The Pioneers are currently in sixth place in the eight-team NCHC and could finish in the top four with one weekend (six points) remaining.
The 20-win mark Air Force earned its 20th win with the 4-1 win at Niagara. The Falcons have won 20 or more games in five of the last seven years. However, this season marks just the second time since the Falcons joined a conference in 1999 that the Falcons have won 20 in the regular season. Three times the Falcons have earned win No. 20 in the playoffs. The 2008-09 team won 23 games in the regular-season en route to a school-record 28 wins. That team advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight, the best finish in school history.