COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Sophomore winger Shane Saum scored twice and added an assist to lead Air Force to its first win of the season, a convincing 6-1 victory over Fairfield, Friday night at the Cadet Ice Arena.
The win was good medicine for the Falcons, who were looking to put a tough weekend against Alaska-Fairbanks behind them.
“We are obviously in a much better place tonight than we were a week ago,” Air Force Head Coach Frank Serratore said. “We played much better defensively and physically.”
“It was a great win,” added Saum. “We came out flying, gained some confidence early and were able to build off of that. We need to keep it up for Sunday’s game.”
Air Force came out of the blocks firing and took the play to Fairfield early. They opened the scoring at 3:32 of the first period when junior forward Andy Berg found senior forward Brian Rodgers left alone in the slot. Rodgers one-timed the pass and beat Fairfield goalie Craig Schnappinger.
Under three minutes later, Air Force would score the eventual game-winning goal. Saum came up with the puck following an offensive zone face-off, and fed it back to sophomore defenseman Joe Locallo at the point. Locallo sent off a wrist shot that had eyes and found its way through to the back of the net. Schnappinger never saw it until it was by him.
“I was really happy about our play in the first period,” Serratore said. “We came out strong and fired up and really took it to them physically in that period.”
In the second period, the play evened out a bit, as Fairfield was able to get a few more chances, but Air Force did a better job of taking advantage of the Stags’ mistakes to lengthen their lead.
At 8:41, Saum scored his first of the night, on an end-to-end rush. Senior defenseman Jeff Zurick fed him a pass just inside the defensive blueline. Then Saum took off, blowing by the Fairfield defense and then roofing a backhander past Schnappinger.
Saum also closed out the scoring, netting the teams’ sixth goal of the night on the power play in the third period.
“Both goals were a result of great plays by my teammates,” Saum said. “On the first one, Zurick hit me with the pass and I knew that if I could get their goalie moving across, I could beat him. Then on the second goal, Scott [Zwiers] made a great pass and all I had to do was redirect it with my stick.”
At the end of the night, four Falcons had multiple point games. Saum led the way with two goals and one assist, Berg tallied three assists, while Rodgers and Zwiers each had a goal and an assist.
Fairfield Junior forward Dan Cotter broke Air Force goalie Mike Polidor’s bid for a shutout when he deflected a blast from the point past him midway through the third period. Polidor made 15 saves to register the win.
These same two teams take to the ice Sunday afternoon at 12:05 p.m. (MT) to complete their two-game series.