COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Air Force senior Spanky Leonard scored two goals to lift Air Force to a 5-1 win over American International in a nonconference game Friday at the Cadet Ice Arena.
Air Force won its second straight game and improved to 3-2 overall this season. AIC fell to 0-5.
AIC lit the lamp early after a Falcon turnover in their own end. AIC’s Jay Fennessy collected the puck behind the Falcon net and found Jeremy Leroux on the left boards. Leroux’s goal, his fourth of the season, beat Mike Polidor 51 seconds into the game.
Air Force jumped all over the Yellow Jackets in the second period, outshooting the visitors from Massachusetts, 17-1.
AIC’s first shot attempt came nearly 15 minutes into the second frame. Leonard got the Falcons going with a power-play goal at 4:45. Mike Knaeble won the faceoff and kicked the puck back to Brian Gineo. Gineo’s shot from the center point was saved but Leonard put back the rebound for his second marker of the season.
Knaeble and Leonard combined on the Falcons’ second goal at 11:22. Again on the faceoff, Knaeble won the draw and got the puck back to Leonard. Leonard’s shot was saved, but Knaeble netted the rebound for his second of the season.
Just four minutes later, freshman Jay Medenwaldt scored his first career goal. The winger from Monticello, Minn., took the puck behind the net and shot the puck off the back of the AIC goaltender to give the Falcons a 3-1 lead.
“We played much better in the second period,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “They are a tough team to play against. They kept four guys back and they don’t give up breakaways. The power-play goal in the second period was big for us. It was a set play and Brian Gineo did a nice job of walking the line and getting his shot through. We had a lot more jump in the second period than they did.”
Air Force added two more in the third. Sophomore Matt Bader scored his first goal of the season at 2:36. Bader skated the puck down the left wing and sneaked a backhand shot through the five-hole. His goal was assisted by Andrew Ramsey and Josh Priewe.
Leonard tallied his second of the night at 15:12. Ryan Wiggins took a shot that was saved and Leonard punched in the rebound. Knaeble also assisted on the play.
After giving up a goal less than one minute into the game, Polidor finished with 17 saves on the night. Yellow Jacket netminder Chad Davis made 36, including 14 in the second period. AFA was 1-for-3 on the power play while AIC was 0-for-2. AFA has now killed 16 straight opponent power plays.
“Mike Polidor was solid in the net for us,” Serratore said. “I know he wishes he could have that first one back, but he made five or six big stops for us. They had quite a few two-on-ones and didn’t score.”
The same two teams conclude the two-game series on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at the Cadet Ice Arena.