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.

AFA skates to 1-1 tie at Canisius

BUFFALO, N.Y.  –   Air Force and Canisius skated to a 1-1 overtime tie in an Atlantic Hockey Association game at the Buffalo State Sports Arena in Buffalo, N.Y. The game was the first league contest for both games.

Kyle De Laurell’s first goal of the season gave the Falcons a 1-0 lead at 11:01 of the first period. Cole Gunner made a pass from behind the net to De Laurell in the slot. Canisius tied the game at 1-1 at 15:58 of the second period. Braeden Rigney took a shot from the right circle that was saved, but Taylor Law cleaned up the rebound to tie the game.

Neither team scored in third period or in overtime and the game ended in a 1-1 overtime tie. Canisius had two shots on goal in overtime that were both turned away by Falcon goalie Jason Torf.

Canisius outshot Air Force in every period and had a 31-18 advantage in the game. Canisius had two shots on goal in overtime while Air Force did not have one. Jason Torf made 30 saves for the Falcons, marking his third straight game with 30 or more saves. Canisius goalie Tony Capobianco made 17 saves. AFA was 0-for-3 on the power play while Canisius was 0-for-2.

Air Force plays Robert Morris on Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Island Sports Complex in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Monday reading: Goalies, outdoor game, Duluth, Penn State, women

Jason Torf shut out Rochester Institute of Technology for the Atlantic Hockey playoff title last season (photo: Omar Phillips).

Air Force’s  Jason Torf and Denver’s Sam Brittain are both considered “Goalies to Watch” this season.

Sophomore goalie Frank Slubowski (17-11-4, 2.03 GAA, .911 saves) led Western Michigan to its first CCHA postseason championship so his inclusion was no surprise. But I did raise an eyebrow since CC’s Josh Thorimbert did not make that top 10 considering he tied for preseason honors with Brittain in the WCHA media poll.

The USCHO preseason poll is scheduled to come out on Monday. Here is last season’s final poll so you may compare the two later.

Tickets for the North Dakota at Nebraska Omaha outdoor game went on sale at 10 a.m. CT today.

A former Minnesota-Duluth forward succumbed to brain cancer.

Penn State will play its first game at Pegula Ice Arena against Army.

Here is a look ahead at this season in Hockey East play and another perspective.

The women’s Division I schedule got underway this weekend.

Wednesday reading: Weekly honors, UNO rink, J. Schwartz, WCHA women, AFA honor

Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) and defenseman Jack Hillen stop a Kings shot during the first period Monday. / Sanford Myers / The Tennessean

Two Gophers were honored by the WCHA this week.

UNO coach Dean Blais is trying to jump start the school’s effort to get its own 8,000-seat arena on campus. No doubt, such a move would be huge for the program, especially from a financial viewpoint (concessions, parking revenue, etc.).

Here’s a look at Wisconsin’s road playoff possibilities.

CC assistant Eric Rud was checking out the NAHL’s top prospects recently.

From stltoday.com: Blues GM Doug Armstrong believes Colorado College forward Jaden Schwartz is close to NHL-ready, and why not? He was captain of Team Canada at the World Junior Championships. He has scored 12 goals and added 24 assists in 26 college games this season.

Colorado College has won just one of its last six games. At 16-14-2 overall and 13-12-1 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, Schwartz’s team is on the outside of the NCAA’s 16-team national tourney bracket looking in.

Perhaps Colorado College can win the WCHA tourney and the automatic berth that goes with it. Or perhaps Jaden will have to decide whether to turn pro earlier than he expected.

Schwartz is a skilled player, but his character is what sets him apart. He appears to be a natural leader. “When you play, you want to make the players around you better,” he told the Colorado Springs Gazette earlier this season. “Whether teams are on you more or not, that’s something you’ve got to battle through. Every player has been through that at different levels.”

Pine Creek graduate Emily West’s play will be critical for the Minnesota women in the WCHA Frozen Faceoff (league semifinals and championship) this weekend in Duluth.

This sick little boy has been inspired by the Brown Bears and they have been motivated by him.

From AFA sports information:

Air Force sophomore Jason Torf was named the Atlantic Hockey Association Goalie of the Month for February as he helped lead Air Force to a 5-2-1 record and the AHA regular-season championship.

Torf, from Hermosa Beach, Calif., posted a 1.11 goals-against average and a .956 saves percentage in the month. He recorded four shutouts in eight starts as he blanked RIT (3-0 on Feb. 3), Niagara (2-0 on Feb. 10), Mercyhurst (8-0 on Feb. 17) and Robert Morris (3-0 on Feb. 25). Three of his four shutouts came against teams ranked in the top four in the league. Torf led AFA to the league title by stopping all 25 shots he faced in the final regular-season game at Robert Morris, Feb. 25. The night before, he made a season high 35 saves against the Colonials.

After missing almost three months and 14 games with a groin injury, Torf has come back to be among the national leaders in every goaltending category. In all games, he ranks third in the nation in goals-against average (1.65), seventh in shutouts (4) and eighth in saves percentage (.931)

The Atlantic Hockey monthly honor was his first of the season and second of his career. Air Force, 17-9-7 overall and 15-6-6 in the league, earned a bye in the first round of the playoffs. The Falcons will host an AHA quarterfinal series, March 9-11, at the Cadet Ice Arena.