Falcons host Holy Cross in playoff game, March 10
March 6, 2007
This Week: Air Force (16-15-5, 13-10-5 AHA) hosts fifth-seeded Holy Cross (10-19-5, 9-14-5 AHA) Saturday, March 10, at 7:35 p.m. at the Academy's Cadet Ice Arena (2,502) in the Atlantic Hockey Association quarterfinals.
Playoff Tickets: Fans can purchase tickets for the playoff game on March 10 on the internet at ww.GoAirForceFalcons.com, on the phone at 1-800-666-USAF or at the ticket office in the Falcon Athletic Center. Ticket prices are $12 for adults and $6 for children 3-18.
Radio/ Internet: All of Air Force's remaining games can be heard on the internet at www.GoAirForceFalcons.com and in Colorado Springs on ESPN 1300 AM The Sports Animal. Jay Ritchie, in his 10th season of Air Force hockey and 19th season of Falcon athletics, will do the play-by-play. Dave Toller will do the color. The pregame show begins 20 minutes prior to faceoff.
Tournament Seeds: RIT won the regular season championship, but is ineligible for postseason play. Sacred Heart finished second in the league with 38 points and earned the No. 1 seed. The Pioneers will host AIC, a 2-1 winner over Canisius in the play-in game on March 3 in Buffalo. No. 2 seed Army will host No. 7 seed Bentley. No. 3 seed UConn will host No. 6 seed Mercyhurst and No. 4 Air Force will host No. 5 Holy Cross. All games will be Saturday night, March 10.
What's at Stake: The four winners of the quarterfinal games on March 10 will advance to the AHA Final Four, March 16-17, in Rochester, N.Y. at the Blue Cross Arena. The winner of the Final Four receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals, March 23-25. First-ever Home Playoff Game: The home playoff game on March 10 vs. Holy Cross is the first-ever home hockey playoff game for the Falcons.
The Matchup: Air Force and Holy Cross played twice this season in Worcester, Mass., and the two teams tied both games by identical 2-2 scores in overtime. In the first game, goals by Michael Mayra and Mike Phillipich gave AFA a 2-0 lead in the second period. A short-handed goal by James Sixsmith and a power-play goal by Dale Reinhardt early in the third period tied the game at 2-2. AFA out-shot Holy Cross, 35-19, in the game. Peter Foster made 17 saves. In the second game, all four goals were scored in the second period. Power-play goals by Josh Schaffer and Phillipich gave AFA a 2-1 lead midway through the period. Sixsmith's short-handed goal at 11:52 tied the game. Ben Worker made his second career start and made 28 saves, including a penalty shot in overtime. AFA out-shot HC, 34-30, in the game and 69-49, in the series.
Scouting the Opponents: Holy Cross finished the season with a 10-19-5 overall record and a 9-14-5 mark in the AHA for sixth place (No. 5 seed) with 23 points. Forward James Sixsmith leads the team with 47 points in all games (17-30-47) and 41 points (15-26-41) in AHA games to rank second in the league. Two freshmen and a sophomore have split time in the nets for the Crusaders this season. All have similar numbers with a saves percentage near 88.0 and a goals against average around 3.4. The Crusaders have lost four straight, getting out-scored 18-9, and are winless in their last six. Since Thanksgiving, Holy Cross has won just three games (3-14-5). The team's top defenseman, Jon Landry (9-18-27) has missed the last seven games with an injury.
Series Record: Air Force and Holy Cross have played 17 times and AFA leads the series, 9-4-4. AFA dominated the series from 1993-2001, going 6-0-1 vs. the Crusaders. However, in the last six years, the series has been very even as Holy Cross has won four, AFA has won three and three have ended in ties. The teams have split the last four meetings at Air Force in 2004 and 2001. The last time the teams played at the Academy was in 2004 when Holy Cross won 8-4 and AFA won 5-2. Three of the last four meetings have ended in a 2-2 overtime tie.
The Coaches: Air Force coach Frank Serratore (Bemidji State, 1982) is in his 10th season at Air Force and his 14th as a collegiate head coach. He has a 146-188-24 record at AFA and an overall mark of 195-280-33. Holy Cross coach Paul Pearl is. in his 12th season with the Crusaders with a school and overall record of 191-167-16
Ehn Leads the Nation: Junior center Eric Ehn leads the nation in scoring with 60 points on 24 goals and 36 assists. He is four points ahead of Michigan's T.J. Hensick who currently has 56 points. Ehn has 13 points in his last six games. Ehn's 1.67 points per game average is tops in the country. Ehn is also seventh in the nation in goals per game (0.67) and second in assists per game (1.00). He has led the nation in points in 13 of the last 16 weeks. Ehn has scored in 28 of the 36 games this season and has 16 multiple-point games and eight multiple-goal games.
Ehn for the Hobey: Ehn is ranked fifth on the CSTV.com Hobey Baker watch list. The Hobey is given annually to nation's top collegiate hockey player. An Air Force player has never been a finalist for the award. Ehn first appeared on the list on Jan. 3 and was No. 10. He has been between fifth and 10th in the last seven weeks.
Vote for the Hobey: The first phase of the fan voting concluded on March 4 and Ehn was fourth in the final fan voting. The next phase of voting begins March 15 when the 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker are announced. Fans can vote for the Hobey by going to the official web-site at www.HobeyBaker.com.
Ramsey Selected for NCAA Skills Competition: Air Force senior left winger Andrew Ramsey has been selected to compete in the 2007 NCAA Frozen Four Pontiac Skills Challenge. The skills challenge, in its second year, is a fast-paced, exciting event that pits male and female seniors in an East versus West team competition in the following events: puck-control relay, fastest skater, hardest shot, accuracy shooting, rapid fire shooting and penalty shot competition. One hundred and eighty players were nominated for the competition. The 2007 Pontiac Frozen Four Skills Challenge takes place on Friday, April 6 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The presentation of the Hobey Baker Memorial Award and the Hockey Humanitarian Award also will be part of the evening's festivities--"Friday Night at the "Frozen Four".
Ehn's Points Per Game Highest in NCAA Since ... : Eric Ehn currently leads the nation in points per game with 1.67. His average is the highest in the NCAA since Colorado College's Peter Sejna led the nation in 2002-03 with a 1.95 points per game average (82 points in 42 games). That season, Sejna won the Hobey Baker Award and went on to play in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues. Last season, Mercyhurst's Dave Borrelli led the nation with a 1.55 points per game average (51 points in 33 games). In 2004-05, CC's Marty Sertich led the nation with a 1.49 points per game average (64 points in 43 games) and went on to win the Hobey.
AFA Sets School Record for Division I wins in Season: Air Force has 16 Division I victories this season to set a new school record. Serratore's 1999-00 team first set the previous record with 14 Division I wins. The 2001-02, 2003-04 and 2004-05 teams all tied the record. The 2003-04 and 2004-05 teams won 28 Division I games to set a two-year school record. AFA has won 16 this season and 11 last season. for 27 in the last two years.
60 Points for Ehn: With five points at AIC, Eric Ehn now has 60 points for the season. He became the first Falcon with 60 or more points in 27 years when Bob Sajevic had 64 points (35-29-64) in 1979-80. Chuck Delich holds the school record with 79 in 1975-76. Ehn is just the 11th Falcon in school history with 60 or more points in a season.
Two over 40: For the first time in 13 years, Air Force has two players with 40 or more points. Eric Ehn has 60 points and Andrew Ramsey has 44. The last time was in 1993-94 when Beau Bilek had 42 points and Andy Veneri had 41. The 104 combined points by Ehn and Ramsey are the most in 27 years when Bob Sajevic (35-29-64) and Mike Smellie (32-23-55) combined for 119 in 1979-80.
Two over 20: Ehn (24 goals) and Ramsey (20 goals) are the first two Falcons to score over 20 goals in the same season in 25 years when Mark Manney (27-26-53) and Tom Richards (22-26-48) combined for 48 goals in 1981-82.
Climbing the Ladder Quickly: Eric Ehn and Andrew Ramsey are quickly climbing the career scoring lists. Ehn, a junior, is currently 28th on the career scoring list with 117 points in 104 games. Ramsey, a senior, is currently 33rd on the list with 109 points.