Falcons finish season at 21-14-4
April 30, 2014
In Closing Air Force finished the season with a 21-14-4 overall record. The Falcons tied for third in the AHA with a 15-9-3 league mark. Air Force was the No. 3 seed in the AHA Tournament and fell to No. 6 seed Niagara, in the AHA Quarterfinals at the Academy. After winning the first game, 2-1, Niagara won games two (4-3) and three (4-3 in overtime).
AHA Playoff Recap
All four higher seeds won the AHA First Round series, 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.
In the quarterfinals, three of the bottom four seeds won the best of three series. No. 1 Mercyhurst swept No. 8 Holy Cross. No. 7 Canisius defeated No. 2 Bentley in three games while No. 6 Niagara defeated No. 3 Air Force in three games No. 5 Robert Morris swept No. 4 UConn.
At the AHA Final Four, Canisius defeated Mercyhurst in double overtime, 5-4, while Robert Morris beat Niagara, 5-4, in overtime setting up a matchup of the No. 5 and No. 7 teams in the championship game.
Robert Morris beat Canisius, 7-4, to win its first AHA championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament. The Colonials fell to top-seeded Minnesota, 7-3, in the NCAA West Regional.
Head coach Frank Serratore is in his 17th season at Air Force with a record of 293-277-62 record (632 games). He is the winningest coach in the history of Air Force hockey, having led Air Force to five AHA championships and five NCAA Tournaments in the last eight years. In 21 seasons as a collegiate head coach, he has an overall record of 342-369-71 (782 games).
The Top Line
Air Force's top line of LW Scott Holm, C Chad Demers and RW Cole Gunner combined for 114 points (41-73-114). The line scored at least one goal in 29 of the 39 games this season. In games in which the top line scored, Air Force was 20-7-2. The line combined for 36 percent of the team's goals and 37 percent of the team's points.
The 40-Point Club Cole Gunner had 44 points this season, becoming the first Falcon to reach the 40-point mark in a season since Jacques Lamoureux had 44 in 2011. His linemate, Chad Demers, had 41 points this season. The last time the Falcons had two players with 40 or more in one season came in 2008-09 when Lamoureux had 53 (33-20-53), Greg Flynn had 42 (7-35-42) and Brent Olson had 41 (12-29-41). That season, Air Force had five players with 30 or more as Matt Fairchild had 37 and Josh Frider had 35. In all of college hockey, just seven sets of teammates each had 40 or more points this season.
An Exclusive Club Air Force 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 finished second in the NCHC this season.
The 20-win mark
Air Force earned its 20th win with the 4-1 win at Niagara, March 1. 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.