HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Alabama-Huntsville’s special teams showed their strength against Air Force, with a shorthanded marker and a power play goal allowing the Chargers to stampede the visiting Falcons in a 5-1 win at the Von Braun Center.
The Falcons drew first blood when a strong rush by Andrew Ramsey and Billy Devoney got Charger netminder Adam MacLean going horizontal; unfortunately for MacLean, Matt Bader was there to take the puck vertical and past his outstretched blocker for the Falcons’ lone goal at 5:27 of the first.
The Chargers answered on the next rush, winning the faceoff and flying down the ice and into the slot facing Falcon goaltender David Polidor. Polidor made the first couple of saves as Grant Selinger and Craig Bushey attemped to push the puck past him, but junior center Jared Ross was there to chop a rebound into the net as he skated past the goal. That tied the game at 1-1 after one.
The Chargers’ special teams saw plenty of time in a game where the teams combined for 27 penalties for 86 minutes. The game-winner came as the home team killed off a 5-on-3 power play caused when sophomore Todd Bentley went to the box at 4:30 of the second period and was followed 1:12 later by freshman Brett McConnachie.
Ross intercepted a pass and pushed the puck to Bentley, who had a full head of steam after just leaving the penalty box. Bentley came in stick-side on Polidor, deked glove-side and shot, but Polidor was able to make the save. Doug Watkins, trailing the play, collected the rebound and put a wrister high past Polidor at 6:46.
Freshman Steve Canter gave the Chargers an insurance goal 1:36 into the third, scoring his first collegiate goal with help from Steve Milosevski and Ryan Brown. Bushey followed Canter’s goal ten minutes later, making it 4-1.
After the Chargers amassed their three-goal lead, cooler heads no longer prevailed, with one set of matching minors at 13:20 followed by two sets of matching minors and 10-minute misconducts just 13 seconds later. With the game out of hand, Peter Foster relieved Polidor after a long delay caused by the ejections of Ramsey and Watkins.
The Chargers added their final goal after a Buck Kozlowski boarding call gave the home team its fifth power play of the night. Bushey again scored, putting home a loose pack in a scramble that saw both Ross and Selinger put shots in on Foster. The three shots were the only shots on net during Foster’s 6:27 of play.
The CHA opponents square off again at 7:05 Central on Saturday night at the Von Braun Center. Audio and pay-per-video feeds of the game will be available on the Web at www.eyecentric.com.