Falcons picked to win Atlantic Hockey by league's coaches
Sept. 24, 2008
The back-to-back Atlantic Hockey Association champion Air Force Falcons were the preseason choice by the league's coaches to win the AHA in 2008-09, as announced at the AHA annual media day at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y.
Air Force finished the 2007-08 season with a 21-12-6 record and placed third in the conference last season. The Falcons defeated Mercyhurst in double overtime, 5-4, to win the AHA Tournament and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season. Being the coaches' choice to win the league is a first for Air Force hockey. The Falcons collected seven of the possible nine first-place votes and 79 of the possible 81 total points in the poll.
"I think that based on what we have done the last two years and what we have coming back, we were the logical choice in the preseason poll," head coach Frank Serratore said. "However, I'm certainly not calling Jostens to order our rings just yet. This league is going to be tougher than it has ever been. I don't think the top end is going to be any better than it has in the past, but the teams that were at the bottom of the standings have elevated and all have good classes coming in. In my opinion, we are the favorite in a tightly bundled group."
AFA returns 11 of the top 13 scores, four of its top six defensemen and its starting goaltender from last season's championship team. The Falcons also received votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national poll, coming in at No. 20. Air Force was No. 20 in the final USCHO/CSTV poll and No. 16 in the final USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll last season.
Mercyhurst was picked to finish second with one first-place vote and 70 points. RIT collected the other two first-place votes and 68 total points to finish third in the poll. Sacred Heart was fourth (55 points) followed by Army in fifth (40). Holy Cross was sixth (38), Canisius was seventh (34), UConn was eighth (29), Bentley was ninth (26) and AIC was 10th (11 points).
Air Force opens the 2008-09 season with an exhibition game vs. the University of Alberta on Sunday, Oct. 5, at 5:05 pm. at the Cadet Ice Arena. The regular season opens with a two-game league series at Sacred Heart, Oct. 10-11. The home schedule begins Oct. 17-18 with a two-game, non-conference with Bemidji State, at 7:05 p.m. at the Cadet Ice Arena.