Denver holds off Air Force, 4-2
Air Force battled ninth-ranked Denver right to the final buzzer, but it was the two-time NCAA defending champions that prevailed, 4-2, in a non-conference college hockey game Friday night, Oct. 21, at the Cadet Ice Arena.
The Falcons fell to 1-4-0 on the season while Denver picked up its first win of the year and improved to 1-2-0.
It was again special teams that hurt the Falcons as Air Force went 0-for-7 on the power play, including a brief 5-on-3 and 4-on-3 advantage early in the third period. The Falcons are now scoreless on their last 34 power plays.
Before a near-sellout crowd of 2,321, Denver struck first as Brock Trotter scored on a one-timer from the bottom of the circle on the power play. The first goal of the freshman's career was assisted by Chris Butler and Gabe Gauthier.
The Pioneers took a 2-0 lead midway through the second on Zach Blom's slap shot from the point. His goal was assisted by Andrew Thomas and Paul Stastny.
Air Force got on the board late in the second period on a hustling play by Blake Turnquist. Turnquist sent the puck deep into the corner from the neutral zone and the puck took a strange bounce off the boards and toward the net. Pioneer goalie Glenn Fisher tried to play the puck but it fumbled off of his stick. Turnquist chased the puck toward the net and tipped it over the goal line for his first goal of the season.
The Pioneers regained their two-goal lead when Ryan Dingle scored at the 9:22 mark of the third period. His goal was assisted by Stastny and Blom. Three minutes later, the Pioneers took a 4-1 lead on Patrick Mullen's goal from J.D. Corbin and Adrian Veideman. Veideman made a cross ice pass to the far post and Mullen put it away.
The Falcons made it close in the final minutes as Jay Medenwaldt scored his second of the season. Andrew Ramsey started the play deep in his own end as he pushed the puck up the boards to Matt Bader. Bader skated the puck down the left wing and took a shot that was saved. Medenwaldt skated down the slot and scored on the rebound.
The Falcons pulled Peter Foster from the net in the final 1:18, but could not get any closer as the Pioneers claimed a 4-2 victory.
Air Force out-shot Denver, 25-23, in the game. The Pioneers were 1-for-8 on the power play while Air Force was 0-for-7. Fisher made 23 saves for Denver, including 11 in the third period. Foster made 19 for the Falcons.
"Denver was more opportunistic than us tonight," head coach Frank Serratore said. "Until they find a different way to decide games, we need to start scoring goals. The only thing DU did better than us tonight was score. We have proven that we can skate with anyone, but we have to become a better third period team. I really like our effort and attitude, but we have to better in the third period and we have to score."
Air Force takes on fourth-ranked Colorado College Saturday, Oct. 22, at 7:07 p.m. at the Colorado Springs World Arena.