COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Air Force scored 20 seconds into the game and cruised to a 9-2 win over New England College in the championship game of the fourth annual Radisson Inn Hockey Classic Friday at the Academy’s Cadet Ice Arena.
Sophomore winger Tom Starkey scored his first career hat trick and tournament MVP Brian Rodgers scored two goals in the game. Starkey nearly scored a natural hat trick as he netted three of Air Force’s first four goals.
Air Force, 5-7 overall this season, has now played in three of the four Classic championship games and has won the tournament twice.
“This was a good win for us and should give us some confidence going into Army next weekend,” head coach Frank Serratore said.
The Falcons used a combination of speed and strength to overwhelm the Pilgrims. AFA outshot the Division III visitors from New Hampshire, 35-19.
Starkey scored two goals in the first 10 minutes of the game. Jace Anders scored midway through the first period and Starkey completed the hat trick early in the second period for a 4-0 lead. NEC (2-4 overall) got on the board midway through the second period on a power-play goal by Nick Warriner. Falcon center Derek Olson scored the game’s next two goals and Kyle Fransdal added one with 12 seconds left in the second period to make the score 7-1. Rodgers scored twice in the third period.
NEC’s Adam Wallace scored a power-play goal with 1:47 remaining to make up the final margin.
Rodgers earned MVP honors as he had six points in the tournament on three goals and three assists. Falcon goalie Mike Polidor, who was stellar in the win over Manhattanville, was named the goalie on the all-tournament team. Defenseman Joe Locallo was the fourth Falcon honored. He had two points in the win over Manhattanville and played solid defense throughout the tournament. Manhattanville had two players on the all-tournament team. Defenseman Brendan Hutchinson had three points while forward Chris Seifert had five points. NEC’s Adam Wallace, who had four points, was the sixth member of the team.
In the consolation game, Seifert and Aaron Gauthier each scored two goals to lead Manhattanville to a 7-1 win over Minnesota-Crookston. Manhattanville, 5-3-1 overall, was 1-1 in the tournament after losing to Air Force in the first round. UMC, 3-9, was 0-2 in the tourney. Manhattanville outshot Crookston, 42-23 in the game. The Valiants had a slim 1-0 lead after one period, but scored four in the second period.