Falcons rout Union, 9-2
After a gut-wrenching loss to 11th-ranked Maine on Friday, the Falcons took out some frustrations on Union College in the second round of the IceBreaker Invitational Saturday, Oct. 8, at the Colorado Springs World Arena.
Air Force scored five goals in the first period and cruised to a 9-2 win in the consolation game of the ninth annual tournament. The win was the Falcons' first of the season and the first ever at the Colorado Springs World Arena. It also marked the second straight year the Falcons have beaten a team from the ECAC Hockey League. Last year, Air Force beat RPI, 2-0.
With the win, the Falcons join St. Cloud State, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Minnesota and Boston University as winners of the consolation game.
For just the fourth time in the 38 years of Falcon hockey, Air Force scored nine or more goals against a Division I team. It is also ties as the second-most against a team from one of the big four conferences (Hockey East, ECAC, WCHA and CCHA). In 1972, Air Force beat Colorado College, 10-5.
Air Force opened the scoring at the 9:51 mark of the first period on Josh Schaffer's first career goal. Defenseman Peter Shenk beat a Union defenseman deep in his own end and then chipped the puck up to Josh Schaffer in the neutral zone. Schaffer split two defensemen, skated in uncontested on Dutchmen goalie Justin Mrazek and beat him to the far post. Brian Reese also assisted on the play. Two minutes later, the Falcons took a 2-0 lead with a power-play goal off the stick of Brian Gineo. Just four seconds into the power play, Gineo intercepted a clearing pass at the blue line, moved to the center and beat Mrazek with a wrister to the stick side.
The Falcons extended their lead to 3-0 at the 13:25 mark of the first period when Eric Ehn scored his second goal of the tournament. Josh Print made the pass to Ehn who was skating down the left wing. His back-hander beat Mrazek from in close. Matt Bader also assisted. Two minutes later, the Falcons struck again. Brooks Turnquist scored on the power play at the 15:11 mark. With the Falcons applying tons of pressure to the net, Gineo's shot was saved, but Turnquist cleaned up the rebound.
"Some nights everything just seems to click and you get a few bounces and tonight we did," Ehn said. "My line mates made some great passes on the tape tonight and I was just in the right place at the right time."
Billy Devoney's first goal of the season, and the fourth of his career, gave the Falcons a 5-0 lead at the 18:41 mark. Again the Falcons pressured the Dutchmen and Brian Reese made a perfect pass from behind the net to Devoney who was crashing down the left side of the net.
The five goals in a period are the most since AFA got five in the third period in a 6-4 win over Holy Cross, 6-4, Oct. 18, 2002. It is also the most goals in the first period since getting five against Fairfield in an 8-3 victory, Oct. 14, 2001.
Union opened the scoring in the second period with a goal just 15 seconds into the period. John Coyle crashed the net with much traffic in front on Ian Harper and the Dutchmen cut the lead to 5-1. AFA quickly answered as Ehn scored his second of the game at the 6:02 mark on a flurry in front of the net from Bader and Print.
Theo Zacour's first goal of the season gave AFA a 7-1 lead at the 10:27 mark. Matt Charbonneau started the play deep in his own end as he fed fellow defenseman Michael Mayra. Mayra chipped a puck up the ice and Zacour skated in uncontested to beat back-up goalie Kris Mayotte. Mayra, a freshman from Anchorage, Alaska, became the first Falcon freshman to score a point on the season as he assisted on the play.
AFA added two more goals in the third period. Andrew Ramsey flipped in a back-hander at the 13:03 mark for an 8-1 lead. Union answered with a goal by T.J. Fox at 15:26. With just under five minutes remaining, freshman Josh Frider scored his first career goal from Gineo and Charbonneau. Frider's first career goal was a back-hander her slid in for a 9-2 advantage.
Fifteen of the Falcons' 18 skaters scored a point in the game. Zacour led the Falcons with four points (1-3-4), while Gineo had three points (1-2-3). Andrew Ramsey and Eric Ehn had two goals in the game. Eight Falcons had two points. Ehn had three goals in the tournament while Gineo and Zacour each had four points.
Air Force had double digits in shots in every period and out-shot the Dutchmen, 45-24, in the game. The Falcons were 2-for-7 on the power play while Union was 0-for-4.
Falcon goalie Ian Harper, a Colorado Springs native, earned the win as he made 21 saves in the game. Junior Ben Worker saw his first collegiate action, playing the final 6:41 of the game.
"If we have that kind of effort every night there will be a lot of happy nights for the Falcons," head coach Frank Serratore said. "We gave the same effort on Friday, but just had a better outcome tonight. We need to have a balanced attack and score by committee and tonight we did. Every line chipped in."
Air Force returns to action on Monday, Oct. 8, with an exhibition game against Lakehead University (Thunder Bay, Ontario) at 7:05 p.m. at the Cadet Ice Arena. The Falcons then travel east to the Quinnipiac Cup, Friday-Saturday, Oct. 14-15, in Northford, Conn. AFA will face Bentley in the first round, Friday, at 4:05 p.m. EST. The Falcons then play either RIT or Quinnipiac in the consolation/championship game, Saturday at 4:05 or 7:05 p.m.