COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Maybe Air Force just needs to warm up longer before the game.
One night after scoring four second-period goals, the Falcons netted three more in the middle frame on Saturday as Air Force completed the weekend sweep with a 6-2 victory versus Quinnipiac in front of 2,166 fans.
Air Force, which entered the series winless in 2003, swept an opponent for the first time since October in improving to 10-18-2. Brian Reaney, Tom Starkey and Scott Zwiers led the Falcons with a goal and an assist apiece.
Quinnipiac, which allowed at least five goals for the second straight night and just the third time this season, falls to 17-9-1.
“People out here have no idea how good (Quinnipiac) is,” said Air Force Head Coach Frank Serratore. “That’s a bona fide Division I opponent, and the way we beat them was impressive.”
Air Force had first crack at opening the scoring, as Quinnipiac committed three penalties in a six-minute span midway through the first period. The Falcons, however, failed to convert despite firing five of their six shots in the frame with the man advantage.
Late in the opening period, the Bobcats took the lead as Quinnipiac capitalized on its first power play. Air Force goaltender Mike Polidor never saw freshman Dan Rossi’s blast from just inside the blue line, as the defenseman notched his second career goal.
The Falcons regained the momentum heading into the first intermission, as Air Force knotted the score with three seconds left in the first stanza. Starkey found an open Ryan Wiggins between the face-off circles, and the sophomore wristed the shot top-shelf, marking the sixth time in the last seven games Wiggins has tallied a point.
Air Force took the lead for good with a pair of goals 37 seconds apart early in the second period. Zwiers scored first, as the senior stuffed home a pass from Reaney just 14 seconds following a Bobcats’ penalty.
Reaney factored in the Falcons’ third goal, as Quinnipiac netminder Jamie Holden (23 saves) gave up a rebound on Reaney’s blue-line shot. Freshman Carson Strang was there to clean up for his first point since Jan. 5.
Quinnipiac cut its deficit in half midway through the period, as the Bobcats notched their second power-play marker in as many chances. Sophomore Matt Froehlich was the beneficiary of a scramble in front of the net, as he batted home the loose puck.
The Bobcats’ best chance to tie the contest came with six minutes remaining in the second period. Chris White, who notched a hat trick on Friday, was along in the right face-off circle, but elected to skate in close, and Polidor denied White’s attempt through the legs.
“Polidor was great tonight,” said Serratore about his junior netminder, who finished with 20 saves. “Every guy contributed to this win.”
Steve Cook scored the Falcon’s third goal of the period with 2:12 left. Brooks Turnquist found Cook with a cross-ice pass, and Cook fired a bullet that hit the crossbar.
Starkey sealed the win less than three minutes into the third period, as he beat Holden to his right with a wrist shot. Reaney completed the scoring with a power-play tally with 3:33 remaining.
“We scored 10 even-strength goals this weekend,” said Serratore. “I hope it’s a sign of things to come.”