Air Force Faces No. 14 Fairfield in ECAC Title Game
Senior Erik Smith

May 2, 2014

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The Air Force lacrosse team will face 14th-ranked Fairfield in the title game of the 2014 ECAC Championship Tournament, being held May 3, at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The game is slated to begin at 5:00 p.m. (ET).

Live Stats:
TV: FOX Sports 2
Series History: Fairfield leads, 7-3
Last Meeting: Air Force 16, Fairfield 8 (4/12/14 @USAFA)

Third-seeded Air Force scored a 14-7 semifinal victory over second-seed Ohio State on Thursday evening. The Falcons, paced by five goals from senior captain Mike Crampton, outscored the Buckeyes 11-3 in the final three quarters to earn their first appearance in the ECAC title game.

Junior Keith Dreyer added a goal and a season-high five assists for the Falcons, while sophomore Christopher Allen notched his fourth hat trick of the season. Senior captains Erik Smith and Bryan Price led Air Force's effort at the face-off X, combining for 14-of-21 wins, while sophomore netminder Doug Gouchoe turned in a solid second-half performance, recording eight saves while allowing just two goals.

Air Force, seeded third in this week's tournament, currently holds an 9-5 overall record on the season after defeating Ohio State in the semifinals of the ECAC Tournament. Senior Mike Crampton has registered a team-leading 56 points on the year, scoring 40 goals and 16 assists, while junior Keith Dreyer has added 41 points, including a team-best 27 assists. The Falcons have three other players who have registered at least 30 points, with senior Tommy McKee tallying 37 points (28g, 9a) and seniors Erik Smith (21g, 14a) and Kyle Cassady (22g, 13a) each adding 35 points.

Fairfield, the top seed in this week's tournament, currently holds a 12-3 overall mark on the year. The Stags, ranked 14th in the latest USILA coaches poll and 15th in the Warrior media poll, earned a berth in the ECAC title game with a 12-5 victory over fourth-seed Michigan on Thursday.

Leading the Stags' offense in 2014 are first-team All-ECAC honorees Colin McLinden (20g, 28a) and Tristan Sperry (22g, 20a), while first-team all-conference midfielder TJ Neubauer has scored a team-high 33 goals on the season. Meanwhile, ECAC Goalkeeper of the Year Jack Murphy holds an 8.30 GAA and a .550 save percentage for the season.

Air Force is searching for just its third NCAA bid in program history and its first since 1988. The Falcons first qualifed for the NCAA Championship in 1971, facing Maryland in its only game of the tournament. Meanwhile, Air Force took on Loyola in the 1988 NCAA Championship.

Air Force's victory over Ohio State on Thursday was its first against the Buckeyes since 2009, when the Falcons won a 9-6 decision at the Academy. Meanwhile, it marked Air Force's first win over Ohio State in Columbus since 1994, when the Falcons escaped with an 11-10 victory over the Buckeyes.

In Air Force's ECAC semifinal win over Ohio State on Thursday, a pair of Falcons finished with hat tricks. Senior Mike Crampton registered five goals, scoring his seventh hat trick of the year, while sophomore Christopher Allen registered his fourth hat trick of the season.

Including Crampton and Allen, Air Force has had five different players register hat tricks this season. Tommy McKee has scored five hat tricks this season, senior Kyle Cassady has added three hat tricks and Erik Smith has registered two hat tricks this year.

Crampton currently leads the Falcons in career hat tricks with 23, while McKee ranks second on the team with 15.

With five goals in the Falcons' ECAC semifinal win over Ohio State, senior Mike Crampton took over the top spot on Air Force's single-season goals list (modern era) with 40 goals in 2014. He is also just four points away from matching the Falcons' modern era single-season points mark of 60.

With his career-high-tying five assists against Ohio State on Thursday, junior Keith Dreyer brought his season total to 27, matching the single-season record in the Falcons' modern era. The mark was initially set by Will Meister in 2006, while Dreyer matched the record in 2012.

Air Force's offense has been the key component in wins and losses this season--in the Falcons' nine victories, the team is averaging 14.9 goals per game. In contrast, Air Force has averaged just 6.8 goals per game in its four losses.

Senior Tommy McKee currently owns the longest goal scoring streak in the nation, having scored at least one goal in 33 straight games, dating back to the 2012 season. Meanwhile, his 36-game point scoring streak ranks as the eighth-longest in the nation.

The winner of Saturday's championship contest will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.



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