Falcons host Wayne State in CHA action

    This Week: Air Force (2-8, 1-1 College Hockey America) returns to College Hockey America play with a two-game home series vs. Wayne State (0-8-2, 0-3-1 CHA). The Falcons and Warriors play Friday-Saturday, Dec. 2-3, at 7:05 p.m. each night at the Cadet Ice Arena.

    Radio/Television/Internet: No television. Both games will be broadcast on the radio (KKML 1300 AM The Sports Animal) and on the internet (www.AirForceSports.com). See page two of this release for more.

    Toy Trick This Week: For the sixth consecutive year, the Air Force hockey team will host its annual toy drive, the "Toy Trick", Dec. 2-3, vs. Wayne State. Fans are asked to bring a new stuffed toy, wrapped in plastic, and when the Falcons score their first goal in each game, throw the toy on the ice. Last season, the team generated over 700 toys and then made visits to the Children's Hospital at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs and also to Denver Children's Hospital during the holidays. In the five-year history of the Toy Trick, the team has collected and distributed more than 2,700 toys.

    Time off ahead: Following the Wayne State series, the Falcons will be idle until Dec. 30-31 vs. RIT at home. The Falcons will be off for 27 days during Academy finals and the holidays.

    Series Notes: Air Force and Wayne State have played 32 times and the Warriors hold a 12-8-3 lead in the series that began in 2000. Air Force won the first meeting between the teams, 4-3, in Detroit in 2000. In the last five games, each team has won twice with one tie. At the Cadet Ice Arena, Wayne State has a 5-3-2 lead over the Falcons. Last year, Wayne State won the regular season series, 2-1-1. The teams split at the Academy in early December and then Wayne State took three points with a 5-1 win and a 3-3 tie late in the year. However, in the CHA quarterfinals, Air Force defeated Wayne State, 4-3 in overtime, in Grand Rapids, Minn., on Theo Zacour's game-winner.

    Scouting the Opponents: Wayne State is 0-8-2 overall this season and 0-3-1 in the CHA. The Warriors' two ties this season have come against Niagara (3-3) and last week against Union (2-2). In the second game against Union last week, the Warriors lost 4-0. Scoring goals has been a challenge for the Warriors, with just 15 goals in 10 games. WSU has been shutout twice and has scored one goal four times. Steve Kovalchik leads the team with six points in 10 games (all assists). Four Warriors are tied for the goal-scoring lead with two. Senior Matt Kelly and junior Will Hooper have split time in net. Kelly has a 3.90 goals-against average while Hooper's is 4.01.

    The Coaches: Air Force coach Frank Serratore (Bemidji State, 1982) is in his ninth season at Air Force and his 13th as a collegiate head coach. He has a 121-161-18 record at AFA and an overall mark of 169-253-27. Wayne State coach Bill Wilkinson is in his seventh year at WSU and his 24th as a collegiate head coach. He has a 95-107-20 record at Wayne State and an overall mark of 408-408-73.

    Fast Start: In 10 games this season, the Falcons have roared out of the locker room, but have struggled in the third period. The Falcons have out-scored their opponents, 11-7, in the first period this season. However, Air Force has scored just 15 goals in the final 40 minutes. Both of Air Force's wins this season have come when the team has led after the first period. AFA is 0-6 when tied or trailing after the first period.

    Third Period Woes: The Falcons have struggled in the third period this season. The Falcons have been out-scored, 17-9, in the third period this season. Army scored four third-period goals in the two games two weeks ago. Air Force did get three goals in the third period of the second game to tie the score at 3-3, but Army won the game in overtime. In the third period this season, the Falcons have won three, lost six and tied one. When winning the third period, the Falcons are 2-1 with the only loss coming at Army. When tying or losing the third period, Air Force is 0-7.

    Sound at Even Strength: In 10 games this season, Air Force has scored 26 goals while the opponents have scored 35. The Falcons have 20 even-strength goals this season with just five on the power play and one short-handed. Air Force has been much better than its opponent at even-strength, outscoring them 20-13. The opponents have scored 35 goals this season, but 18 have been on the power play, one short-handed and three empty-netters.

    On Deck: Following the Wayne State series, Air Force is idle for 27 days. The Falcons next series is RIT, Dec. 30-31, at Cadet Ice Arena. Both faceoffs are at 7:05 p.m.

    Last Week: Air Force won both exhibition games on a trip to Germany against teams from the German professional league. The Falcons won at Bad Tolz, 7-2 Nov. 22, and then won at Rosenheim, 4-1 Nov. 23.


    Inside Ice Hockey