Nov. 22, 2013
Air Force (7-3-0, 4-1-0 AHA) plays a pair of games against the University of Denver Pioneers (6-5-1, 3-2-1 NCHC). The teams play on Friday, Nov. 22, at 7:05 p.m. at the Air Force Academy's Cadet Ice Arena (2,470). The teams then play on Saturday, Nov. 23, at 7:07 p.m. at Magness Arena (6,315) in Denver.
All games will be broadcast in Colorado Springs on The Animal AM 1300 and on the internet at www.GoAirForceFalcons.com. Jay Ritchie will call the play-by-play. Dave Toller will be the color analyst. Pregame show begins 30 minutes before faceoff each day. The game vs. Denver on Nov. 23 will be televised live on Root Sports. Root Sports can be found on DirecTV channel 683, Dish Network channel 414 on Comcast in Colorado Springs channel 35. All AHA games and all Air Force home games will be video streamed live on AmericaOne.com.
Air Force is the only AHA team receiving votes in the national polls this week. The Falcons received 22 points in the USCHO.com weekly poll. Denver received 11 points in the USCHO poll. Both Denver (4) and Air Force (3) are receiving votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national poll.
Defending the Home Ice
Air Force's five-game home winning streak is the longest since the Falcons had a seven-game winning streak in the record-setting 2008-09 season. AFA had two separate seven-game home winning streaks that season. The five-game winning streak gets the Falcons off to a great start at home after AFA went just 9-6-2 at home last season.
Cole Gunner scored a goal in five straight games from Oct. 12-27. The streak was the longest since Jacques Lamoureux had a seven-game goal-scoring streak in the 2010-11 season. Gunner had a five-game goal and point streak end on Nov. 1 at RIT. Gunner has scored in seven of the last nine, including an assist vs. CC on Tuesday. Gunner is tied for fifth in the AHA in points (10) and goals (5) and in all games. Chad Demers had a team-best six-game point streak end at Mercyhurst, Nov. 2. Demers has scored a point in eight of the last nine games, including an assist vs. CC on Tuesday. Demers is tied for second in the AHA in all games in points (12) and assists (8).Cole Gunner's two game-winning goals are tied for 12th in the nation. Scott Holm is tied for fourth in the AHA with three power-play goals. Jason Torf made a season-high 39 saves and recorded his 10th career shutout in the 2-0 win over RIT, Nov. 1. Torf made 37 saves in the win over Robert Morris, Nov. 16 and 34 saves in the win over Colorado College, Nov. 19.
Scouting the Pioneers
Denver is 6-5-1 overall and 3-2-1 in the NCHC for first place with 11 points. The Pioneers lost five of the their first eight games with four of those losses coming in overtime. The only loss that wasn't a one-goal defeat was a 4-1 loss to Canisius at home, Oct. 26. After back-to-back 3-2 overtime losses at home to conference foe Nebraska-Omaha, the Pioneers are unbeaten in their last four games. DU tied Colorado College, 1-1, at World Arena (Nov. 8) and then beat the Tigers, 2-1, in Denver on Nov. 9. Last weekend, Denver swept Western Michigan at Magness Arena, 5-3 and 1-0. Junior defenseman Joey LaLeggia leads the team in scoring with 11 points (6-5-11). Senior defenseman David Makowski and sophomore center Quintin Shore each have 10 points. Senior goalie Sam Brittain has a been on fire this season with a .945 saves percentage and a 1.61 goals-against average. He already has three shutouts this season to lead the nation. He has been named the NCHC Goalie of the Week three times, including the past two weeks.
Series vs. Denver
Denver and Air Force will meet for the 36th time since the series began in 1972 Denver leads the series, 32-3 DU has won five straight games in the series, including a 5-2 win last season at the Academy AFA's last win in the series was a 5-2 victory at the Cadet Ice Arena in 2008. Four of the last eight games have been decided by two goals or less. DU is 20-2 against the Falcons in games played in Denver. AFA's last win in Denver came in 1980. AFA has lost 14 straight games at DU and is 0-8 against Denver at Magness Arena. DU is 12-1 against the Falcons in games played at the Academy. DU has won two straight over the Falcons at Cadet Ice Arena.
Last Season vs. the Pioneers
Pioneer center Nick Shore netted a hat trick as seventh-ranked Denver beat Air Force, 5-2, at Magness Arena in Denver. Trailing 2-0 early in the third period, Casey Kleisinger scored to make it 2-1. The Pioneers scored the next two for a 4-1 lead. Chad Demers cut the Pioneer lead to 4-2 at the 8:22 mark. The Pioneers sealed the win with an empty-netter by Zac Larraza with 16 seconds remaining. Denver outshot Air Force, 42-24, in the game. DU was 2-for-3 on the power play while AFA was 0-for-4. Denver won 32 of the 50 faceoffs in the game. Torf made 37 saves for the Falcons while Adam Murray made 22 for the Pioneers.
Last Time at Cadet Ice Arena
Drew Shore and Luke Salazar each scored two goals as 15th-ranked Denver beat Air Force, 7-1, Dec. 31, 2011 at the Cadet Ice Arena. Shore's second of the game gave the Pioneers a 4-0 lead late in the second period. Paul Weisgarber scored early in the third period to cut the DU lead to 4-1. However, goals by Salazar, Chris Knowlton and Joey LaLeggia sealed the game late in the third. AFA outshot Denver, 32-26, in the game. AFA was 0-for7 on the power play while DU was 3-for-4. Juho Olkinuora made 28 saves for DU. Stephen Caple started for Air Force and made 13 saves while allowing four goals. Jason Torf played the third period and stopped six of the eight shots he faced.
Falcons vs. the Front Range Foes
With Air Force's 3-1 win over Colorado College on Tuesday, the Falcons earned their ninth victory all-time vs. the Tigers. CC leads the all-time series, 59-9-2. However, Air Force is now 3-3 vs. the Tigers in the last six games. With two games against Denver this weekend, Air Force has a chance to earn victories over Colorado College and Denver in the same season for the first time ever. Air Force has only beaten Denver three times in school history (1976-77, 1979-80 and 2007-08).