Oct. 25, 2013
This Week Air Force (2-2, 0-0 AHA) opens Atlantic Hockey Association play with the two teams that represented the AHA at the NCAA Tournament last season. The Falcons host defending AHA Tournament Champion Cansius (0-1, 0-1 AHA) on Friday, Oct. 25, at 7:05 p.m. The Falcons then host defending AHA Regular-Season Champion Niagara (1-2-1, 1-0-1 AHA) on Sunday, Oct. 27, at 4:05 p.m. Both games will be at the Cadet Ice Arena, (2,470).
Scouting the Griffs Canisius is 0-1 overall and 0-1 in the AHA after falling at Niagara, 6-4, Oct. 12. The Griffs were outshot, 43-27, in the game. After Canisius opened up a 3-0 lead in the first 11 minutes, Niagara cut the Griffs' lead to 4-2 at the first intermission. Niagara scored a power-play goal and a short-handed goal in the second period to tie the game at 4-4. The Purple Eagles netted the game-winner on Ryan Rashid's short-handed goal 1:53 into the third period. Ben Danford, Mitch McCrank and Ralph Cuddemi are all tied for the team lead with two points. Senior Tony Capobianco started in goal and gave up five goals on 47 shots.
Scouting the Purple Eagles Niagara is 1-2-1 overall and 1-0-1 in the AHA. After dropping two close games on opening weekend to Clarkson at home (2-1 and 2-0), the Purple Eagles bounced back to get three conference points with a 6-4 win over Canisius (Oct. 12) and a 3-3 overtime tie with Robert Morris (Oct. 19). Against Canisius, the Purple Eagles trailed 3-0 lead in the first 11 minutes, but cut the Griffs lead to 4-2 at the first intermission. Niagara scored a power-play goal and a short-handed goal in the second period to tie the game at 4-4. The Purple Eagles netted the game-winner on Ryan Rashid's short-handed goal 1:53 into the third period. Against Robert Morris, Niagara held a slim 39-38 shot advantage. The game see-sawed back and forth with Niagara netting the game-tying goal at 11:45 of the third. Mike Conderman, Brock Edwards and Kevin Ryan are all tied for the team lead with three points. Niagara features two freshman goaltenders, Adrian Ignagni and Jackson Teichroeb. Ignagni has seen the most action and has a .941 saves percentage and a 1.84 GAA with a 1-1-1 record.
Series History vs. the Griffs Air Force leads the all-time series vs. Canisius, 9-7-7. Nearly one-third of the games (seven of the 23) have ended in a tie. Five of the last six, and nine of the last 11, have been decided by one goal or ended in a tie. In 11 games played in Colorado, Canisius has a 5-4-4 advantage. Last season, the teams played five times and the series was split, 2-2-1. After a 1-1 overtime tie in Buffalo last October (Oct. 25, 2012), Air Force swept the series at the Academy in February, 3-1 and 3-2. Canisius ended Air Force's season by sweeping the Falcons in the AHA Quarterfinals at the Cadet Ice Arena, 4-3 and 4-3 in overtime.
Series History vs. the Purple Eagles
Niagara holds a 29-17-4 lead in the series that began in 1996 when both teams were independents. As independents, the teams played 10 times and AFA was 5-5 vs. the Purple Eagles. From 1999-2000 to 2005-06, both teams were in College Hockey America and played 31 times and Niagara holds a 22-6-3 advantage. Since the 2010-11 season, the teams have both been members of Atlantic Hockey. As AHA rivals, AFA has a 6-2-1 lead in the series. The teams have played 23 times at the Academy and the Purple Eagles hold an 11-10-2 advantage.Air Force has won four of the last five at home.
Six of the last eight games were decided by two goals or less with three going OT.
Last season, Niagara defeated Air Force, 4-3, in New York in January. Air Force then swept 13th-ranked Niagara, 5-2 and 6-1, in a two-game series at the Academy. The two wins marked the highest ranked team that Air Force ever swept.