College Hockey:
Chargers Take Advantage Early, Hold Off Falcons

— Alabama-Huntsville scored two goals in the first five minutes of the game, then held on for a 3-1 victory over Air Force in a College Hockey America game Saturday at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

UAH swept the two-game series from the Falcons, extending AFA’s losing streak to three games this season. The Falcons have now lost eight straight against UAH in Huntsville.

“Our guys again played hard but didn’t capitalize on our opportunities,” head coach Frank Serratore said. After missing four games while attending family business, Serratore returned to the Falcon bench. “Our goaltending was excellent and we played better than we did Friday.”

UAH, 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the CHA, drew first blood as Steve Charlebois scored a power-play goal at 3:53. Jason Hawes scored the eventual game-winner at 4:44 of the first period. Early in the second, Karlis Zirnis scored his third goal of the season for a 3-0 UAH lead.

Following Zirnis’ goal, Falcon goalie Mike Polidor was pulled from the game, allowing three goals and making eight saves in 22 minutes. Freshman Zach Sikich came on in relief and blanked the Chargers for the final 36 minutes with a career-best 21 saves.

Air Force, 3-5 overall and 0-2 in the CHA, got on the board late in the second period. Derek Olson and Tom Starkey combined for the Falcons only goal. At 18:30 of the second period, Olson found Starkey with a back-door pass and the sophomore buried his third goal of the season.

Serratore pulled Sikich from the net in the final 1:44 of the game in favor of the extra skater. AFA had several chances from close-range but could not beat Charger goalie Mark Byrne, who stopped 35 of AFA’s 36 shots. The Falcons outshot the Chargers, 36-32, in the game.

Special teams, which had been a Falcon strength this season, hurt Air Force for the second straight game. Air Force was 0-for-11, while UAH was 2-for-9 on the power play in the series.

Air Force was without senior winger Brian Gornick, who suffered a fractured right hand in Friday night’s game and will be out four to six weeks. Gornick, a two-time all-CHA selection who tied for the league lead in goals last season, has two assists in seven games this season.

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