DURHAM, N.C. – Four Falcons notched goals in the 18-4 loss to No. 2 Duke in the 2018 season opener, Saturday morning in Durham, N.C. The loss snaps a two-game win streak against the perennial ACC powerhouse.
Duke notched the first three goals of the game, led by Tewaaraton front-runner, Justin Guterding. Sophomore Kevin Cox was the first Falcon to notch a goal with an unassisted attack at 13:43 in the second period.
The Blue Devils responded by rattling off three goals in the ensuing three minutes of the second period. Junior faceoff man Trent Harper notched his first goal of the season just over two minutes later at the 11:33 mark of the second period. Duke’s Joe Robertson added a goal to extend the lead, 7-2. With 1:59 remaining in the first half, Nick Hruby, who has the second-most career goals on the team, tallied his first goal in an unassisted attack. Duke responded by netting a goal with 21 seconds remaining.
Duke led the Falcons at the half, 8-3. Air Force fired off 11 shots and picked up 13 ground balls in the first half. In his collegiate debut, Noah Schwab tallied six first-half saves. Harper proved dominant at the face off X, winning 9-13 face offs.
The third period belonged to the Blue Devils as they tallied eight unanswered goals from the start of the third period up to two minutes into the fourth period. Junior Jack Flynn ended the scoring drought with a goal via Christian Kuhn’s assist. Duke added two more goals before the clock expired, finalizing their home opener with an 18-4 win.
Air Force finished with 26 shots and 23 ground balls, led by Hruby’s five shots with three coming on frame. Cox and Christian Pung tallied a caused turnover apiece. Harper showed promise at the face off X winning 16-26 face offs and scooping up a team-high 10 ground balls.
The Falcons will host Big East Conference front-runners and 2017 NCAA quarter-finalists, the Denver Pioneers, Saturday, Feb. 10, at 1:00 p.m. MT. Denver, who checked in at No. 4 in the USILA preseason coaches’ poll, will take on Air Force in the 77th meeting between the programs. A live stream of the game will be provided by Falcon Vision via the goairforcefalcons.com platform.