Falcons travel to Canisius College

Nov. 8, 2006

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This Week: Air Force (4-5-1, 2-1-1 AHA) travels to Buffalo for a two-game series with Canisius College (1-8-0, 1-4-0 AHA), Sat.-Sun., Nov. 11-12, at the Buffalo Sate Sports Arena (1,800). Saturday's faceoff is at 7 p.m. EST while Sunday's game starts at 4 p.m.

Radio/Television/Internet: No television or Air Force radio for either game.

Scouting the Opponents: Canisius College (Buffalo, N.Y.) is 1-8-0 overall this season and 1-4 in the Atlantic Hockey Association. The Griffs have lost four straight. The team's only win this season was a 5-2 victory over Sacred Heart, a team currently tied for second in the league. Last weekend, Holy Cross swept Canisius by scores of 5-4 and 6-3 in Holy Cross. Freshman forward Josh Heidinger leads the team with 12 points and 10 assists. Freshman defenseman Carl Hudson leads the team with five goals, all on the power play. Junior Bryce Luker and freshman Andrew Loewen have split time in the nets. The two have combined for a .873 saves percentage and a 4.56 GAA. The Griffs are averaging 2.11 goals per game.

The Coaches: Air Force coach Frank Serratore (Bemidji State, 1982) is in his 10th season at Air Force and his 14th as a collegiate head coach. He has a 133-177-20 record at AFA and an overall mark of 182-269-29. Canisius coach Dave Smith (Ohio State, 1992) is in his second year with a school and overall record of 11-31-2.

Around the Nation: Several Falcons rank among the national leaders in various categories. Eric Ehn tied for the national lead with 10 goals, second in points (19), fourth in goals per game (1.00), sixth in points per game (1.90), is tied for sixth in power-play goals (4) and is 38th in assists per game (.90). Andrew Ramsey is tied for second in game-winning goals (2), 29th in points per game (1.44), tied for 24th in power-play goals (3) and 42nd in assists per game (0.89). Mike Phillipich is tied for 38th in assists per game (.90) and 49th in points per game (1.30). AFA is 23rd in the nation in scoring with 3.30 goals per game (out of 59 teams). The Falcons are 37th in the nation in scoring defense at 3.40 goals per game. AFA is the 13th least penalized team in the nation, taking just 15.7 penalty minutes per game. The Falcon power play ranks 29th in the nation (17.3) while the Falcon penalty kill stands 58th (69.6).

Last Meeting: The teams have never played.

Series Record: The teams have never played.

Top Line: The Falcons' top line of center Eric Ehn, left winger Andrew Ramsey and right winger Mike Phillipich have combined for 19 of the team's 33 goals and 45 of the team's 96 points this season. Ehn has 19 points (10-9-19) while Ramsey (5-8-13) and Phillipich (4-9-13) each have 13.

Harper Moving Up: Junior goalie Ian Harper did not play in the first six games but has made up for lost time the last two weeks. Harper is 10 minutes shy of qualifying for the national stats. However, if he did qualify, he would rank fourth in the nation in goals-against average (1.59) and eighth in the nation in saves percentage (.932). He came off the bench against Alabama-Huntsville at the Lightning Hockey Classic to earn his first win of the season in stopping 11 of 12 shots. He then held 11th-ranked Notre Dame to just two goals on 25 shots. His second win of the season was a shutout over RIT as he stopped all 24 shots he faced.

Good ties: Every coach will tell you there are good ties and there are bad ties. Air Force has not had a "good" tie since Dec. 28, 2003 at the UConn Tournament. AFA pulled its goalie and tied the game with 33 seconds remaining. Since then, the Falcons have had four ties of which two would be considered bad ties and two would be indifferent.

First AHA shutout: Friday's 3-0 win over RIT was the Falcons' first ever Atlantic Hockey shutout. The Falcons first AHA shutout came in its third game. AFA's first shutout in College Hockey America came in the 16th league game, a 3-0 win at Army.

Fill the Shot Chart: Air Force certainly filled the shot chart last weekend against RIT. The Falcons had a season-high 45 shots on goal in the game on Saturday. In addition, Air Force had a season-high 19 shots in the first period of the first game and then had 18 shots in the second period of the second game.

First G's: Four Falcons scored their first goals of the game in the RIT series. Seniors Theo Zacour and Brian Reese, junior Josh Schaffer and sophomore Josh Frider all scored their first goals of the season against the Tigers, Nov. 3-4.

Frider's Hot Weekend: Sophomore Josh Frider had a career game against RIT, Saturday, Nov. 4. The sophomore winger from Moorhead, Minn., scored a career-best two goals in the game, including the game-tying goal with 39 seconds left in the third period. Prior to the game, he had never scored more than one point in a game and entered the game with seven points (4-3-7) in 39 career games. Frider also had a career-best seven shots which ties as the most by any Falcon this season.

Put the Biscuit in the Basket: Air Force has scored four or more goals in six of the 10 games this season. In all of last season, the Falcons scored four or more just six times. Despite getting shutout twice this season, Air Force is averaging 3.30 goals per game, sixth in the conference and 23rd in the nation.

Even Strength Solid: Air Force has been solid this season at even-strength. The Falcons have out-scored their opponents, 20-15, even strength this season. AFA scored a season-high five even-strength goals in the 5-1 win over Bentley. However, the Falcons have allowed 17 power-play goals and two short-handed goals in 10 games this season.

Top Line Defense: Air Force's top line of Andrew Ramsey, Eric Ehn and Mike Phillipich are putting up some impressive plus/minus numbers. The trio has not given up an even-strength goal all season. Ehn is a +13, while Ramsey and Phillipich are both a + 11.

On Deck: Following the Canisius series, Air Force returns home for a two-game set with American International College (AIC). The Falcons and Yellow Jackets play Friday, Nov. 17, at 7:05 p.m. and then Sunday, Nov. 19, at 5:05 p.m.

Last Week: Air Force took three points in an Atlantic Hockey series from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Nov. 3-4, at Cadet Ice Arena. AFA won 3-0 in the first game and then tied, 4-4 in overtime, in the second game.



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