COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Air Force extended its school-record conference unbeaten streak to six games with a 4-3 victory over the Findlay in a College Hockey America game, Friday at the Cadet Ice Arena.
The Falcons improved to 14-15-2 overall, 5-10-2 in the CHA, and moved into fifth place with 12 conference points. Findlay fell to 11-20-2 overall and 5-13-1 in the CHA. With the loss Findlay, with 11 conference points, fell from fifth to sixth.
“It’s great to get rolling,” Rodgers said. “It’s always a key to be playing your best as the playoffs are coming around.”
Air Force controlled the tempo of the game for nearly 60 minutes. But a typically-opportunistic Findlay team made it close at the end despite the fact that Air Force outshot the Oilers in every period and 43-27 in the game. The Falcons held an 18-5 shot advantage after the first period.
Rodgers, the senior captain from Scituate, Mass., scored his first goal of the game four minutes into the first, walking into the slot and fired a wrister from Scott Zwiers. With 2:16 remaining in the opening period, Andy Berg punched in a goal from the left post. His 13th of the season came from Shane Saum and Spanky Leonard as the Falcons crashed the net.
Findlay’s Brian Sherry scored early in the second period as he skated in uncontested on AFA goalie Mike Polidor and beat the sophomore five-hole. Rodgers’ second goal of the night, and his 11th of the season, came at 14:47 of the second period to give the Falcons a 3-1 lead. After Zwiers won a faceoff in the offensive end, he kicked the puck back to Rodgers in the high slot. Rodgers’ went top shelf on a bang-bang play.
Midway through the third period, Saum tipped in a shot by Rodgers for his 14th of the season. Rodgers’ shot from the bottom of the circle hit Saum in the leg and went in for a 4-1 lead.
Just 38 seconds later, Findlay freshman Rigel Shaw scored to cut the lead to two goals as he took a pass from Nate Markus in the slot and sent a backhand high over Polidor’s shoulder. His second goal of the night came with 1:41 remaining, just seconds after Findlay pulled its goalie. After winning the faceoff, Shaw’s slapshot beat Polidor to make the score 4-3.
Findlay goalie Jamie VandeSpyker, who has enjoyed great success against the Falcons in the past, made 39 saves. Polidor made 24 saves for the Falcons.
Rodgers and Zwiers each had three points for the Falcons, while Saum had two. Each team was 0-for-4 on the power play.
Air Force and Findlay conclude the series and the regular season Saturday at 7:05 p.m. MST at the Cadet Ice Arena.