ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Senior Mike Polidor posted his first career shutout as Air Force defeated Miami, 2-0, in the consolation game of the 13th annual Nye Frontier Classic at Sullivan Arena.
The win was Air Force’s first over a team from one of the Big Four conferences since defeating Yale, 2-0, in 1999. It was the first win over a team from the CCHA since a 4-3 overtime win over Alaska-Fairbanks in 1995.
Air Force placed third in the tournament and is 2-2 overall this season. Miami placed fourth in the four-team tournament and is 1-4-1.
Polidor was named the game’s most outstanding player as he blanked a RedHawk team that scored eight goals against Michigan last week and ranked 17th in the nation in scoring.
“This is without a doubt the biggest win we have had since I’ve been here,” head coach Frank Serratore, in his seventh season at Air Force, said. “We beat Niagara at home a couple years ago when they were ranked and we beat Yale a few years back, but this was really special. We were picked second to last in all of Division I hockey to open the season and we just knocked off a team that beat us 12-1 last year.”
After Miami dominated the time of possession in the first period, it was the Falcons that came out on top. Miami took many shots that were deflected out front and didn’t have a shot on goal for the first 10 minutes of the period. The RedHawks had five shots on goal before AFA got its first with 2:50 remaining.
But with 1:52 left in the period, Brian Sipotz was called for holding and the Falcons capitalized with a power-play goal. Ryan Wiggins gathered the puck behind the net and found Brooks Turnquist at the point. Turnquist slid the puck across to Mead, whose one-timer gave the Falcons a 1-0 lead.
Miami outshot Air Force, 7-5, in the second period but neither team scored as the Falcons kept the Red Hawks on the perimeter. Air Force clung to its one-goal lead until late in the game when Spanky Leonard gave the Falcons a 2-0 advantage.
Ryan Wiggins took the puck behind the net and passed it over to Mike Knaeble, whose centering pass found Leonard in the slot. He beat Steve Hartley through the five-hole.
The RedHawks pulled Hartley with 1:45 remaining and had the puck in the Falcons’ zone the whole time. Just two shots got through to Polidor as the Falcons recorded their first shutout since the 2000-01 season.
Polidor made 19 saves for the Falcons including several from close range. The senior from Imperial, Penn., has played every minute for the Falcons this season.
“This feels like the biggest win I’ve ever had,” Polidor said. “I was trying not to think about my first shutout, but it crept into my mind late in the game. This win feels so good. This was our chance to lace them up against the big boys and show them what we have. This was a great team win. The guys in front of me blocked a lot of shots tonight and that is something we work on all the time in practice.”
Miami took 47 shot attempts as the Falcon defense blocked 10. The Red Hawks outshot the Falcons, 19-18, and Hartley made 16 saves for Miami. The Falcons were 1-for-3 on the power play while killing all four RedHawk power plays. AFA has now killed 14 straight opponent power plays.