Air Force rallies for OT home win

BC vs AFAFrom Air Force sports information …

Stephen Carew scored 61 seconds into overtime as Air Force beat RIT, 3-2, in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Sunday, Dec. 2, at the Academy’s Cadet Ice Arena. With the win, Air Force ended its four-game losing streak and improved to 4-7-3 overall and 3-4-1 in the AHA. RIT is winless in its last six games and fell to 2-8-3 overall and 1-5-2 in the league.

In overtime, Dan Weissenhofer controlled the puck in the Air Force end and sent a pass up to Mike Walsh in the neutral zone. Walsh touched it to Carew on the left side and the senior team captain skated around the net. After a collision near the far post with an RIT defenseman, Carew fired a wrister through the five-hole for his second career game-winner.

RIT opened the scoring at the 14:21 mark when Brad Shumway skated down the center of the ice and around several Falcons. Shumway dropped the puck to Andrew Miller who ripped a wrister over the pad of Jason Torf for a 1-0 lead.

Twelve seconds into the second period, Air Force went on the power play, but it was RIT that scored. Brad Reid scored short-handed from Matt Garbowsky for a 2-0 lead. Following the goal, RIT’s Alexander Kuqali was called for a five-minute major for checking from behind and the Falcons had 48 seconds of 5-on-3 followed by the major. Near the end of the major, a slashing call on Nolan Descoteaux gave the Falcons two minutes of 5-on-3, but the Falcons were unable to score. Air Force got on the board with an even-strength goal by Scott Holm at 14:47 of the second period. Holm forced a turnover on the forecheck and then got the puck back from linemates Jason Fabian and Ben Persian. The sophomore winger then stuffed the puck under the pads of Josh Watson to make the score 2-1. A minute later, RIT’s Adam Hartley was called for a major for checking from behind and the Falcons were back on the power play. Ben Carey and Cole Gunner cycled the puck behind the net and gave it to Tony Thomas. Thomas walked out and his first shot was saved, but he poked the puck loose from Watson’s pads and it trickled over the goal line at 16:44.The goal was his fourth of the season and second on the power play.

Neither team scored in the third period, setting up Carew’s game-winner in overtime. It was Air Force’s first overtime win of the year and first since beating Niagara at home early last season.

Air Force outshot RIT, 27-24, in the game. The Falcons had a 22-13 advantage in the final two periods and overtime. AFA was 1-for-9 on the power play while RIT was 0-for-2. Watson made 24 saves for the Tigers while Jason Torf made 22 for AFA.

“We found a way to win an ugly game tonight,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “This one was painful to watch. We still have some things to repair in our game. I want to see the enthusiasm of our team return. We needed to end this losing and now we can exhale a little bit. But just a little bit.”

Air Force travels to Waltham, Mass., for a two-game Atlantic Hockey series against the Bentley Falcons, Friday-Saturday, Dec. 7-8, at 7:05 p.m. ET at the John A. Ryan Center.

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Thursday reading: WCHA column, Winkler, Heil, Rothstein, Enga, Slavvin

I started new irregular features in the weekly WCHA column on USCHO, one focusing on an “unsung hero” for Bemidji State who has a young daughter and wife and still manages to find time to be a league academic honoree and log a lot of quality ice time for the Beavers. The Series Spotlight segment, naturally, deals with CC and Denver this weekend starting the annual battle for the Gold Pan Trophy, pictured.

CC senior Scott Winkler has the best numbers of any NCAA prospect for the Stars, especially in plus/minus.

Chicago Steel forward and CC commit Christian Heil scored two goals in 34 seconds during the third period of Sunday’s 5-2 loss to Indiana.  It gives the 18-year-old five goals over his last four games and pushed him into a tie for third in the USHL with 10 goals this season.

Future Tiger Sam Rothstein scored two goals for the Sioux Falls Stampede Saturday in the team’s USHL-leading eighth home win.

Former Tiger RJ Enga and CC commit Jaccob Slavin played key roles in Team USA’s World Junior A challenge championship. Enga served at an assistant coach while Slavin was an assistant captain.

Former Penn State club coach Joe Battista penned this column praising Air Force coach Frank Serratore and hockey people in general.

Air Force wins ugly at Penn State

From AFA sports information …

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.  –  Five different Falcons scored and Jason Torf made 34 saves as Air Force beat Penn State, 5-1, in a non-conference college hockey game at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion in University Park, Pa. Air Force improved to 3-3-3 overall this season while Penn State fell to 5-3-0.

Air Force opened the scoring at the 7:57 mark of the first period as Casey Kleisinger scored from freshman defenseman Max Hartner. Hartner collected his first collegiate point as Kleisinger’s wrister beat P.J. Musico.

Kyle De Laurell’s second goal of the season gave the Falcons a 2-0 lead at 7:50 of the second period. Hartner started the play in his own end as Cole Gunner and Ben Carey picked up assists on the play. The Falcons took a 3-0 lead when Tony Thomas created a turnover in the Nittany Lions’ end. His shot was wide of the net, but Chad Demers collected the rebound and scored his fourth of the season at 14:57 of the second. John Kruse added an assist on the play.

“I can never remember playing so badly and winning a game 5-1,” Falcons head coach Frank Serratore said. “We were awful. We won tonight because we got luck and because Jason Torf was outstanding. We had too many turnovers, missed clears and bad changes. Torf masked all of our mistakes.  He was an All-American tonight. We got an early Christmas present tonight. If we play like that tomorrow, we will get pounded.”

In the middle of a penalty-filled third period, Penn State got on the board with a short-handed goal. Justin Kirchhevel intercepted a pass, skated in uncontested and scored at the 8:25 mark of the third period to cut the AFA lead to 3-1. Fifty-eight seconds later, the Falcons answered and re-gained the three-goal advantage. Carey fed Stephen Carew for his fourth of the season on the power play at the 9:23 mark for a 4-1 Falcon lead. With just over five minutes remaining, the Nittany Lions pulled their goalie in favor of the extra attacker. The Falcons took advantage as Tony Thomas scored an empty-netter from Demers and Alex Halloran at 16:32.

Penn State outshot Air Force, 35-24, in the game. Jason Torf made 34 saves in the game for the Falcons while Musico made 19 for the Nittany Lions.  AFA was 1-for-4 on the power play and the Falcons killed all six PSU power plays.

Air Force and Penn State conclude the two-game series on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 7:30 p.m. ET in University Park, Pa.

Updated Saturday reading: Minnesota, Great Lakes Invitational, Air Force, North Dakota commit, Union injury, New Hampshire, CCHA

Janet Hostetter/The Associated Press

Here are more details from No. 2 Minnesota’s home win over Minnesota State.

Holy Cross 3, Air Force 2

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — Holy Cross scored three goals in a little more than 10 minutes during the second period to rally past the struggling host Falcons (1-3-3, 1-1-1 AHA). Holy Cross moved into first place in the AHA with 3-1 record (4-1 overall).

Holy Cross outshot Air Force, 43-28, in the game. The Crusaders outshot the Falcons, 43-19, in the final 47 minutes.

“We are not very disciplined right now and we are playing a soft game,” Falcons head coach Frank Serratore said. “We had a two-goal lead and had a chance to come out and punch them in the mouth in the second period. Instead, they imposed their will on us. They took it to us in the second period. I have no beef with the way we played in the third period, but why can’t we play like that in the first two periods.”

With the NHL Winter Classic scrapped, the Great Lakes Invitational is moving back indoors.

Here is a feature on Minnesota forward Tom Serratore.

North Dakota is likely to lose a commit to Canadian major juniors.

No. 10 Union beat RPI but may have lost its captain for a good while. No. 9 New Hampshire, CC’s foe on Nov. 23,  lost at UMass.

A Canisius player is suspended for seven additional games for a hit that injured an Air Force player last Thursday.

Here are CCHA results from Friday of note:

Ferris State 3, No. 4 Miami 0

BIG RAPIDS – Sophomore goaltender C.J. Motte blocked all 25 shots he faced as Ferris State shut out Miami, 3-0. Freshman defensemen Brandon Anselmini and Connor Schmidt each potted a power-play goal, while sophomore forward Justin Buzzeo added an even-strength marker for the Bulldogs. For the Redhawks, freshman goaltender Jay Williams made 28 saves in the loss.

No. 11 Western Michigan 3, No. 7 Notre Dame 2

SOUTH BEND – Senior forward Dane Walters’ two-goal performance led Western Michigan past Notre Dame, 3-2. Broncos’ junior forward Chase Balisy added a power-play goal and an assist in the contest. Notre Dame sophomore forward Anders Lee finished with a goal and an assist, while sophomore defenseman Robbie Russo added a power-play goal. Junior forward Jeff Costello tallied a pair of helpers for the Irish. Broncos’ sophomore goaltender Frank Slubowski stopped 35 shots in the win, while Notre Dame junior goaltender Steven Summerhays made 22 saves in the loss.

No. 8 Michigan 4, No. 20 Northern Michigan 4 (Michigan wins in shootout)

MARQUETTE – Senior forward A.J. Treais scored with one second left in regulation, and had the lone goal in the shootout, to give Michigan a 4-4 tie/shootout win against Northern Michigan. Sophomore defenseman Mike Chiasson and senior defenseman Mac Bennett each tallied a goal and an assist. Junior forward Kevin Lynch added the other goal and freshman goaltender Steve Racine stopped 24 shots for the Wolverines. For the Wildcats, freshman forward Cohen Adair finished with a 1-1-2 scoring line. Junior defenseman Wade Epp, junior forward Erik Higby and sophomore forward Ryan Daugherty each had single goals, while junior goaltender Jared Coreau turned aside 31 shots.

More Thursday reading: Enga, WCHA notebook, NHL family links, CC-UMass Lowell connections, Denver, Air Force preview video

Former Tiger R.J. Enga, an assistant with the USHL’s Chicago Steel where CC commits Christian Heil, Jaccob Slavin and Alex Roos play, will serve as an assistant for the U.S. team at the World Junior A Challenge next month.

Here is my first USCHO notebook on the WCHA. I wrote the portions dealing with Alabama-Huntsville, the arrested ref, senior Joe Howe, Denver and part of the Omaha arena blurb.

Three Tigers’ fathers all played in the NHL. The Gazette looks into how that affected the sons, Cody Bradley, Alexander Krushelnyski and Charlie Taft.

Here are the weekly CC preview notes.

Former Pikes Peak Miner and Colorado Springs native Josh Holmstrom said he is excited to get to play in Colorado for the first time in his college career at No. 10 UMass Lowell. I plan to write a feature on him and his older brother Ben Holmstrom, now in the Flyers organization with Jeff Dimmen and Mike Testwuide, for next week’s Woodmen Edition.

Lowell head coach Norm Bazin and associate head coach Jason Lammers both served as assistants under CC coach Scott Owens, which is partly why this series became possible.

Denver’s Nolan Zajac chose DU despite his older brothers going to North Dakota. Their father Tom was a Pioneer in the 1970s.

Air Force coach Frank Serratore talks about last weekend and the upcoming CC and Denver games in this video:

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Friday reading: Clarkson, predictions, lockout, Serratore, Nanooks

Here is the Know Your Enemy post on Clarkson by the RPI fan blog, who covers the ECAC quite well. Plenty of good information in this season preview as well.

The North Dakota beat writer picks CC to finish 10th in the WCHA. His season preview supplement is also available. Information how to get it without a Herald subscription is here. It costs $4 and it is definitely worth it. Brad Schlossman puts a lot of work into this every year.

The new Bemidji State beat writer (welcome Jack Hittinger) makes his picks as does Duluth vet Kevin Pates here. College Hockey Weekly also weighs in.

The College Hockey News announced its preseason Top 10 with Minnesota No. 1.

This freshman could fill Minnesota’s hole at goalie if former CC backup Michael Shibrowski cannot.

Former Tiger Mark Stuart is optimistic the NHL lockout may end soon.

New Minnesota State Mankato coach Mike Hastings runs intense practices.

Air Force coach Frank Serratore hands out some sound advice to parents about whether their child should leave high school early for junior hockey.

Per Matthew Semisch via Twitter: Just confirmed that, despite Omaha radio reshuffle, Dave Ahlers and Terry Leahy will still be doing the UNO hockey broadcasts this season.

Minnesota is also picked to win the WCHA women’s title by its coaches.

There is a three-way battle for the starting goaltender job at Alaska-Fairbanks after years of stability. Here is the 2011-12 introduction video which was a departure from the previous years where CCHA opponents were blown up seemingly at random.

Here is the 2010-11 intro which includes the destruction of the CCHA opponents and the Earth as well. Please comment below which you prefer. Keep in mind both intros are played at ear-splitting volume levels.

Wednesday reading: Prospects game, WMU, SCSU, Tech, Miami

The days when the NHL ignored American players are over judging from the 100 scouts in Buffalo this week for Saturday’s All-American Prospects Game on Saturday.

Western Michigan players received their CCHA tournament championship rings.

St. Cloud State added two defenseman recruits as did Michigan Tech and Miami.

From Colorado Springs Corp. …

It’s a tradition at the annual Sports Corp College Ice Hockey Face Off Luncheon that the two coaches, Frank Serratore of Air Force and Scott Owens of Colorado College, alternate going first and second with their presentations about the upcoming season.

Serratore will lead off this year at the Thursday, Oct. 4 Noon luncheon at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort, and though he may not reveal everything about his 2012-2013 Falcons, he has a team returning that should be another power to be reckoned with nationally.

Serratore enters his 16th season at Air Force with a 255-250-51 record at the Academy. He has an overall mark of 304-342-60 in 19 seasons as a college head coach.

Not only has Serratore turned the Falcon program around, he has turned it into a legitimate national contender with five conference championships and five NCAA appearances in the last six years.

National Collegiate Hockey Conference Commissioner Jim Scherr will open the program with a look at the new league that opens play in the 2013-2014 season. Scherr and his staff being assembled are in place in their new headquarters offices adjacent to the Sports Corp at the Copper Building on the grounds of El Pomar’s Penrose House.

Both squads open at home right after the lunch with exhibition games against the University of British Columbia. The Tigers face UBC at the Colorado Springs World Arena on Sunday, Oct. 7 at 6:07 p.m. and the Falcons host the Thunderbirds on Monday, Oct. 8 at the Cadet Ice Arena.

The two local foes get to know each other early this year, with Air Force hosting the Tigers on Friday night, October 19 at the Cadet Ice Arena. The teams play only once this season.

Both coaches have a lot to talk about related to tough schedules and their top returning players, mixed in with a few outstanding freshmen who will play.

The Tigers finished 18-16-2 last season (5th in the WCHA), while the Falcons went 21-11-7, won their conference title, then lost to eventual NCAA Champion Boston College, 2-0, in the regional.

It’s the final season for the Tigers in the WCHA, with CC entering the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) in the 2013-2014 season with Nebraska-Omaha, Denver, Miami (O), North Dakota, Minnesota-Duluth, St. Cloud State and Western Michigan.

TICKETS: $25.00 for Sports Corp Members and AFA or CC Booster Club Members with ID. $35.00 for all others.

TABLES (10 Seats): $250.00 for Sports Corp Members or AFA/CC Boosters; $350.00 for all others.

RESERVATIONS: Contact Cara Jorgensen at the Sports Corp (719) 634-7333, ext. 1007, or by e-mail: cara@thesportscorp.org