20th-ranked Air Force faces third-ranked Yale in NCAA East Regional
March 22, 2011
This Week 20th-ranked Air Force (20-11-6 overall), travels to Bridgeport, Conn., to face the No. 1 overall seed in the tourney, third-ranked Yale (27-6-1), in the NCAA East Regional at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard. Faceoff is set for 6:30 p.m. ET. For tickets, please call 1-800-666-8723. The Falcons finished second in the AHA regular season and defeated Holy Cross, 3-2, in the semifinals and then RIT, 1-0, in the championship game in Rochester, N.Y. Yale finished second in the ECAC and won the tournament with a 4-0 win over Colgate in the semifinals and a 6-0 win over Cornell in the championship game. Second-seeded Union (ranked eighth in the USCHO.com poll) will face third-seeded Minnesota-Duluth (ranked 11th in USCHO) in the other East Regional semifinal game, Friday, at 3 p.m. ET The two semifinal winners will advance to the NCAA Elite Eight and meet in the regional final, Saturday, March 26, at 6:30 p.m. ET. The winner goes to the NCAA Frozen Four, April 7-9, at the Xcel Center in St. Paul, Minn.
Television The Air Force-Yale game will be televised on ESPNU HD on Friday, March 25, at 6:30 p.m. ET. ESPNU is available on DirecTV channel 208, Dish Network channel 141 and on Comcast channel 175 in Colorado Springs. The game will also be video streamed on ESPN3.com
Radio/Internet The games will be broadcast in Colorado Springs on The Sports Animal AM 1300 and on the internet at www.GoAirForceFalcons.com. Pregame show begins 30 minutes before faceoff. Jay Ritchie will call the play-by-play while Dave Toller will be the color analyst.
Hot Down the Stretch Not only has Air Force won eight straight, but Air Force is 11-2-3 in the last 16 games. The turning point of the season could have come on Feb. 5 in Rochester, N.Y. After losing to RIT, 1-0 in overtime, on Feb. 4, RIT opened up a 4-0 lead in the first 12 minutes of game two on Saturday, Feb. 5. AFA came back to earn a 5-5 overtime tie and has since won nine of the last 10 games.
Four out of Five Ain't Bad Air Force has won the AHA Final Four and advanced to the NCAA Tournament four of the last five years. The Falcons made three straight trips to the Big Dance in 2007, 2008 and 2009. In 2010, AFA lost to Sacred Heart in the AHA semifinals, but the Falcons are returning to the NCAA Tournament in 2011.
Eight in a Row Air Force is on a current eight-game winning streak, the longest of season The winning streak is the second longest in the nation (North Dakota, nine) Air Force's eight-game winning streak is the longest since the 2008-09 team opened the season with 13 straight wins.
AFA in The Big Dance Air Force is making its fourth trip in the last five years to NCAA Tournament. It is also the fourth trip in the 43 years of hockey at the Air Force Academy. Air Force is 1-3 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. Air Force, the No. 4 seed in the NCAA West Regional in Denver in 2007, nearly upset Minnesota, the overall No. 1 seed in the tournament. Air Force led 3-1 with just over eight minutes left, but the Gophers came back for a 4-3 win. In 2008, Air Force was the No. 4 seed in the Northeast Regional and fell to No. 1 seed (No. 2 overall in the tournament), Miami, 3-2 in overtime. Miami tied the game midway through the third period and then won at 15:21 of overtime. Miami was the eventual national runner-up. In 2009, Air Force became the first service academy team to win a hockey game at the NCAA Tournament. The fourth-seeded Falcons upset top-seeded and third-ranked Michigan, 2-0, in the NCAA East Regional in Bridgeport, Conn. Michigan was the overall No. 4 seed while Air Force as the overall No. 13, the highest in school history. Derrick Burnett and Jacques Lamoureux scored and goalie Andrew Volkening made 43 saves. In the round of eight, Air Force fell to Vermont, 3-2, in double overtime for the right to go to the NCAA Frozen Four. Sean Bertsch's goal midway through the third period tied the game at 2-2. In the second overtime, a Dan Lawson slap shot from the point went through the net and teams continued play for nearly two minutes until the next whistle. A nearly-15-minute video replay showed the puck went through the net and Vermont advanced to the Frozen Four.
The Rankings Air Force is ranked for the first time season as the Falcons are 20th in the USCHO.com poll. The Falcons are receiving votes in the USA today/USA Hockey poll. The last time Air Force was ranked came in the 2009-10 preseason poll when the Falcons were 19th in the USCHO.com poll and receiving votes in the USA today/USA Hockey poll The last time the Falcons were ranked late in the season came in the 2008-09 season when the Falcons were ranked 18th in the USCHO/CBS College Sports poll and No. 15 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll Air Force's highest ever national ranking was No. 10 in December, 2008
Earlier this Season vs. Yale Air Force and Yale played earlier this season and the Falcons upset the third-ranked Bulldogs, 4-3, at the Cadet Ice Arena, Nov. 14. In that game, Yale scored early in the third period for a 3-0 lead, but the Falcons came back with four unanswered goals. Scott Mathis scored on the power play and Paul Weisgarber scored a short-handed goal to make it 3-2. Jason Fabian tied the game and then Stephen Carew scored the game-winner with 3:52 remaining. Freshman goalie Jason Torf earned his first career win, recording 34 saves. Yale outshot Air Force, 37-29, in the game. Yale climbed to No. 1 in the country three weeks later and spent the next eight weeks in the top spot. After the loss to Air Force, Yale won 10 straight and was 15-1 at one point during the season
Series vs. Yale
AFA and Yale meet for the 14th time since the series began in 1989 Yale holds a 9-4 advantage in the series Air Force and Yale last played in Connecticut on Jan. 4, 2009, at 3-2 Bulldog win at Yale The teams have met three times on neutral ice, all in the regular season, and Yale is 2-1 vs. Air Force. In 1989 in the first ever meeting between the schools, Yale beat Air Force, 8-5, at Yale's Tournament. In 1996, Yale beat Air Force 7-3 at the Denver Cup. In 1999, Air Force blanked Yale, 2-0, at the UMass.-Lowell Tournament.