March 10, 2014
No. 3 seed Air Force (20-12-4, 15-9-3 AHA) hosts No. 6 seed Niagara (13-18-5 11-11-5 AHA), in an AHA Quarterfinal Series, Friday-Saturday, March 14-15, and Sunday, March 16, if necessary. All game times are 7:05 p.m. MT. AFA finished the regular season tied for third and had a bye in the first round of the playoffs last week. Niagara finished sixth and swept AIC at home last weekend by scores of 1-0 in double overtime and 4-0.
Quarterfinal Tickets Available
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.
The Top Four / AFA Wins Tiebreaker
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).
The Playoff Picture
All four higher seeds won the AHA First Round series last week, but two of the four series went to a third game. No. 5 Robert Morris defeated No. 12 Army in three games. No. 6 Niagara swept AIC in two games. No. 7 Canisius swept No. 11 Sacred Heart in two games and No. 8 Holy Cross defeated No. 9 RIT in three games. This week: No. 1 Mercyhurst hosts No. 8 Holy Cross; No. 2 Bentley hosts No. 7 Canisius; No. 3 Air Force hosts No. 6 Niagara; No. 4 UConn hosts No. 5 Robert Morris.
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.
Series History vs. the Purple Eagles
Niagara holds a 30-19-4 lead in the series that began in 1996 when both teams were independents. As independents, the teams played 10 times and AFA was 5-5 vs. the Purple Eagles. From 1999-2000 to 2005-06, both teams were in College Hockey America and played 31 times and Niagara held 22-6-3 advantage. Since the 2010-11 season, the teams have both been members of Atlantic Hockey. As AHA rivals, AFA has a 8-3-1 lead in the series. Seven of the last 11 games were decided by two goals or less with three going OT. The teams have played 24 times at the Academy and the series is deadlocked at 11-11-2. Air Force has won five of the last six games played at the Cadet Ice Arena, including four straight. Earlier this season, Air Force won two of three. The Falcons won the single-game at the Academy, 7-4, Oct. 27. The teams then split the series in western New York with Niagara winning game one, 4-1, and Air Force won game two, 4-1.
Scouting the Purple Eagles
Niagara finished the regular season with a 13-18-5 overall record and finished sixth in the league with an 11-11-5 mark. Niagara swept 11th-seed AIC in the AHA First Round by scores of 1-0 in double overtime on Friday and 4-2 on Saturday. On Friday, Jackson Teichroeb made 33 saves and Dan Kolenda scored the game-winner at 4:43 of the second overtime. On Saturday, Niagara built a 4-0 lead and held off AIC for the 4-2 win. Teichroeb stopped 62 of 64 shots in the series. After opening the season with just three wins in the first 15 games (3-11-1), the Purple Eagles then went 7-6-3 in the next 16 games. The Purple Eagles are 3-3-1 in the last seven games. Junior Isaac Kohls leads the team with 12 goals and is tied for the team lead with 24 points. Sophomore Hugo Turcotte leads the team with 15 assists and also has 24 points. Freshmen Jackson Teichroeb and Adrian Ignagni split time in the net during the season, but Teichroeb has started the last seven games. Teichroeb has a 2.66 GAA and a .909 saves percentage with a 7-12-3 record. Teichroeb has led the Purple Eagles to three wins in the last four games.
The Falcons in the Playoffs
Air Force joined Atlantic Hockey for the 2006-07 season and has won two regular-season titles and five tournament titles in seven years. AFA was the No. 4 seed in 2007; No. 3 seed in 2008; No. 1 seed in 2009; No. 3 seed in 2010; No. 2 seed in 2011; the No. 1 seed in 2012, the No. 2 seed in 2013 and the No. 3 seed in 2014. Air Force has played in seven quarterfinal series and all seven have been at the Academy. AFA won six straight series prior to Canisius sweeping the Falcons last season. AFA has swept four quarterfinal series and has won two in three games. AFA was the No. 1 seed in 2009 and needed three games to beat No. 8 seed Sacred Heart. AFA was also the No. 1 seed in 2012 and needed three games to beat No. 8 seed UConn. AFA is 21-5 all-time in the AHA playoffs. AFA is 11-4 all-time in the AHA quarterfinals
AFA All-Time in the AHA Playoffs
AFA is 21-5 all-time in the AHA playoffs. After winning the AHA Tournament three straight years (2007, 2008 and 2009), AFA suffered its only loss in the Final Four in 2010. AFA won tournament titles in 2011 and 2012. In 2013, the Falcons failed to make the Final Four for the first time as Canisius swept the Falcons in the quarterfinals at USAFA.