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.

Air Force picked to win AHA championship

2012-13 Atlantic Hockey Preseason Coaches Poll

Air Force (8) – 112
Niagara (3) – 101
Mercyhurst – 89
Bentley – 87
RIT – 87
Holy Cross – 74
Connecticut – 65
Robert Morris (1) – 61
Canisius – 38

“I wish winning the league was as easy as winning the coaches’ poll,” AFA coach Frank Serratore said. “The bottom teams have gotten so much better. There are no ‘gimmes.’”

CBS Sports Network will broadcast two AHA games including Sat., Jan. 12, Army at Air Force.

Air Force and Army are no stranger to the national scene as they have faced each other for the past six seasons on CBS Sports Network. The game will mark the 14th time in the last seven years that Air Force hockey has appeared on national television.

“Our players are thrilled about being able to play on national television,” said Serratore.  “I am excited for the opportunity to showcase one of the greatest rivalries in college hockey, those fans who have never seen an Air Force-Army hockey game are in for a special treat”

“Once again we are looking forward to playing Air Force on national TV,” states Army coach Brian Riley. “It’s a game that is played with a passion and intensity that is hard to match in college hockey. This rivalry is one of the best in all of college sports. I expect that it will be a great game not only for the people who will be in the stands to watch but it will also be great for people around the country to view on national TV.”

Here are more details including this quote from AFA coach Frank Serratore:

Weekend reading: Wisconsin captain, CC practices, profiles, lockout

Colorado College captain William Rapuzzi will lead the team’s first unofficial practice of the 2012-13 season on Monday.

Senior John Ramage will serve a second year as Wisconsin’s captain. Here is a column by the Madison beat writer pointing out how successful two-time captain’s teams have been.

Inside College Hockey continues this summer’s installment of its short player profiles (I enjoy reading about the younger AHA players who do not get the press of the other leagues). Here are the latest involving future foes for Air Force and Colorado College:

RIT junior defenseman Greg Noyes hopes to follow up a stronger sophomore season with a breakout campaign in 2012-13.

North Dakota sophomore forward Brendan O’Donnell has the potential to be a big points producer if he can stay healthy.

Bemidji State sophomore defenseman Matt Prapavessis‘ 13 points (12 assists) makes him the top returning offensive blue-liner for the Beavers.

An NHL lockout would leave a huge hole in NBC Sports Network’s programming. May I suggest a few more NCAA and Canadian major junior games along with the AHL and ECHL?

Air Force announces 2012-13 schedule

From AFA sports information …

USAFA, Colo. – The Air Force hockey team opens the 2012-13 season with an exhibition game against the University of British Columbia on Monday, Oct. 8, at 6:05 p.m. at the Cadet Ice Arena. The Falcons then travel to Anchorage, Alaska for the Kendall Hockey Classic, Oct. 12-13, when the Falcons face Alaska and Alaska-Anchorage. Air Force opens the regular-season home schedule against cross-town rival Colorado College, Friday, Oct. 19, at 7:05 p.m. AFA then travels to the University of Denver, Saturday, Oct. 20, at 7:05 p.m. AFA opens Atlantic Hockey Association play on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 7:05 p.m. at Canisius.

Air Force is coming off of its fifth AHA championship in the last six years. The Falcons won the 2012 AHA Tournament with a 4-0 win over RIT in the championship game. The Falcons’ season ended with a 2-0 loss to top-seeded, and eventual national champion, Boston College in the NCAA Northeast Regional.

The top two scorers from last season (seniors Kyle DeLaurell and John Kruse) both return. DeLaurell led the team with 23 assists and 38 points. Kruse led the team with 16 goals and had 30 points.

Four of the top five scorers return as sophomores Cole Gunner and Chad Demers are back after stellar freshman seasons. Gunner finished the season with 28 points while Demers had 24. Junior defenseman Adam McKenzie is the top returning blueliner with 18 points (2-6-18).

Junior goaltender Jason Torf returns after earning AHA Tournament MVP honors last season. After returning from an injury, Torf started the final 15 games and finished among the top 10 in the nation in goal-against average and saves percentage. Torf was fourth in the nation in GAA with a 1.73 goals-against average and was ninth in saves percentage with a .929.

Air Force Hockey – 2012-13 Schedule

All times at site
Day Date    Time   Opponent                                                       Site
Mon. Oct. 8 6:05 UNIV. OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (EXH) USAFA, CO
Fri. Oct. 12 5:07 vs. Alaska-Fairbanks# Anchorage, AK
Sat. Oct. 13 7:07 at Alaska-Anchorage# Anchorage, AK
Fri. Oct. 19 7:05 COLORADO COLLEGE USAFA, CO
Sat. Oct. 20 7:05 at Denver Denver, CO
Thur. Oct. 25 7:05 at Canisius* Buffalo, NY
Sat. Oct. 27 7:05 at Robert Morris* Pittsburgh, PA
Fri. Nov. 2 7:05 HOLY CROSS* USAFA, CO
Sat. Nov. 3 7:05 HOLY CROSS* USAFA, CO
Fri. Nov. 9 7:30 at Penn State University Park, PA
Sat. Nov. 10 7:30 at Penn State University Park, PA
Fri. Nov. 23 7:05 at UConn* Storrs, CT
Sat. Nov. 24 7:05 at UConn* Storrs, CT
Fri. Nov. 30 7:05 MERCYHURST* USAFA, CO
Sun. Dec. 2 6:05 RIT* USAFA, CO
Fri. Dec. 7 7:05 at Bentley* Waltham, MA
Sat. Dec. 8 7:05 at Bentley* Waltham, MA
Sat.-Sun Dec. 29-30 TBA at Mariucci Classic Minneapolis, MN
(Minnesota, Alabama-Huntsville, Boston College and Air Force)
Sat. Jan. 5 7:05 at Niagara* Niagara Falls, NY
Fri. Jan. 11 7:05 ARMY* USAFA, CO
Sat. Jan. 12 7:05 ARMY* USAFA, CO
Sat. Jan. 19 4:05 at Sacred Heart* Bridgeport, CT
Sun. Jan. 20 12:05 at Sacred Heart* Bridgeport, CT
Fri. Jan. 25 7:05 ROBERT MORRIS* USAFA, CO
Sat. Jan. 26 7:05 ROBERT MORRIS* USAFA, CO
Fri. Feb. 1 7:05 AIC* USAFA, CO
Sat. Feb. 2 7:05 AIC* USAFA, CO
Fri. Feb. 8 7:05 at Mercyhurst* Erie, PA
Sat. Feb. 9 7:05 at Mercyhurst* Erie, PA
Fri. Feb. 15 7:05 CANISIUS* USAFA, CO
Sat. Feb. 16 7:05 CANISIUS* USAFA, CO
Fri. Feb. 22 7:05 at RIT* Rochester, NY
Sat. Feb. 23 7:05 at RIT* Rochester, NY
Fri. Mar. 1 7:05 NIAGARA* USAFA, CO
Sat. Mar. 2 7:05 NIAGARA* USAFA, CO
Fri.-Sun. Mar. 8-10 TBA AHA First Round (Best of Three) TBA
Fri.-Sun. Mar. 15-17 TBA AHA Quarterfinals (Best of Three) TBA
Fri.-Sat. Mar. 22-23 TBA AHA Final Four Rochester, NY
Fri.-Sun. Mar. 29-31 TBA NCAA Regionals TBA
(Grand Rapids, MI; Manchester, NH; Providence, RI; Toledo, OH)

Saturday reading: J. Schwartz, Guentzel, Hall, playoff recaps, previews

Here’s a preview of tonight’s St. Louis at Tampa Bay game when former Tiger Jaden Schwartz will make his NHL debut. (TV: 5 p.m. Mountain FS Midwest, SUN Network).

Expect Gabe Guentzel, pictured at left, to make his pro debut Saturday night for AHL Syracuse against Adirondack and former CC teammate Mike Testwuide. Guentzel will wear No. 10 judging from the roster.

Tim Hall made his pro debut for ECHL Alaska in a 3-1 loss at Colorado. It reads like he played his defensive role well, drawing two penalties.

Here’s a lot of good information on CC and its available personnel next season by the Gazette’s Brian Gomez: CC wing Dakota Eveland will not play next season after offseason neck surgery this Tuesday. Look for one or two more 2012 commits or one of the 2013 players to be brought in a year early.

North Dakota could be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, judging from the latest Pairwise rankings, if it wins its third Broadmoor Trophy in a row against Denver tonight in the WCHA Final Five championship game. ( TV: 6 p.m. Mountain ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain). Here’s plenty of recap and preview notes.

Western Michigan cruised past Miami in the CCHA semifinals on Friday. Top remaining seed Michigan defeated last-place Bowling Green State 3-2 in double overtime to end the Falcons’s memorable run at an NCAA berth.

In Hockey East, Maine downed Boston U in one semifinal while Boston College ended No. 7 seed Providence’s Cinderella run. Maine plays BC at 6 p.m. Mountain (TV: NBC Sports Network).

In the ECAC, Harvard kept its NCAA hopes alive by advancing to tonight’s championship against top seed Union. Harvard is rated at No. 19 in the Pairwise and must win the automatic berth to move on.

In the Atlantic, Air Force will take on No. 3 seed and host RIT tonight (Radio: 1300 AM, 5 p.m. Mountain)

Around the WCHA: Duluth adds to school record unbeaten streak

No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth 5, No. 8/9 Western Michigan 2

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Junior forward Mike Seidel had a goal and an assist as Minnesota Duluth swept its weekend series at Western Michigan with a 5-2 win on Saturday night at Lawson Ice Arena. The Bulldogs are on a school record 15-game unbeaten streak.

No. 10 Denver 5, Alabama-Huntsville 2

DENVER  – Junior forward Shawn Ostrow had a goal and an assist to help the Denver Pioneers capture a 5-2 victory against the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers on Saturday night at Magness Arena.

No. 3 Notre Dame 4, No. 5 Minnesota 3

MINNEAPOLIS  – Sophomore forward Nate Condon and freshman defenseman Ben Marshall each had two assists but Minnesota fell to Notre Dame, 4-3, in the US Hockey Hall of Fame game on Saturday night at Mariucci Arena.

North Dakota 3, Clarkson 1

WINNIPEG, Man. – Junior forward Carter Rowney scored two goals to lead North Dakota to a 3-1 win against Clarkson on Saturday night in the U.S. College Hockey Classic at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Minnesota State 3, St. Lawrence 1

CANTON, N.Y. – Senior forward Justin Jokinen scored at 15:51 of the third period and the Mavericks would add an empty-netter as Minnesota State earned a 3-1 victory against St. Lawrence on Saturday night at Appleton Arena.

Wisconsin 2, RIT 1

MADISON, Wis. – Sophomore forward Mark Zengerle assisted on both Badger goals as Wisconsin earned a weekend sweep against RIT with a 2-1 win on Saturday night at Kohl Center

Around the WCHA: Alabama- Huntsville upsets Denver

Compiled from school web sites and WCHA.com …

Alabama-Huntsville 3, No. 13 Denver 2

DENVER — Denver scored the first two goals of the game but the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers (2-21-1) scored three unanswered goals to emerge with a 3-2 win over the Pioneers on Friday night at Magness Arena.

No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth 4, No. 8/9 Western Michigan 1

KALAMAZOO — Not even a one-month layoff could cool down the hottest team in NCAA hockey.

Minnesota-Duluth, which had been idle since Dec. 10, returned to the ice Friday night armed with a No. 1 national ranking and a school record-tying 14-game unbeaten streak and, following a somewhat sluggish first-period, rallied for a 4-1 victory over No. 8 Western Michigan University. The defending national champion Bulldogs, paying their first-visit ever to Kalamazoo, Mich., struck for four unanswered goals after falling behind 1-0 midway through the opening period in moving to 13-3-3 on the year and 12-0-3 in their last 15 outings.

J.T. Brown, Travis Oleksuk, Joe Basaraba, Jake Hendrickson (empty netter) all scored while senior center Jack Connolly made three assists. It marked the fourth three-point night in the last six outings for the two-time All-American, whose career-high scoring streak now stands at 17 games, five shy of the program record. Brown’s power play goal came at 9:09 of the second period, knotting the game at 1-1 and Oleksuk then put the Bulldogs ahead for good with his 14th goal of the season off a blistering one-timer on a 5-on-3 power play with 8:05 to go in regulation.

St. Lawrence 4, Minnesota State 3

CANTON, N.Y. — Matt Leitner, Johnny McInnis and Jean-Paul Lafontaine each scored a goal but Minnesota State was defeated by St. Lawrence, 4-3, on Friday night at Appleton Arena.

Wisconsin 6, RIT 4

MADISON — Junior defenseman Justin Schultz scored two goals and added two assists and sophomore forward Keegan Meuer added a goal and an assist to lead Wisconsin to a 6-4 win against RIT on Friday night at Kohl Center.