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College Hockey:
Charbonneau Scores Winner, Air Force Sweeps Army

— Freshman Matt Charbonneau scored the game winner with 1:13 remaining in the third period to lift Air Force to a 2-1 win over Army Saturday at the Cadet Ice Arena.

Air Force swept the two-game series after defeating Army, 5-2, on Friday. The Falcons have now won three straight over Army, dating back to a 3-0 win last season at West Point.

Air Force improved to 11-9-2 overall while Army fell to 3-12-2.

Saturday’s game was much more typical of Air Force-Army than the first game in the series. A low-scoring, hard-checking game entertained a sellout crowd of 2,502 at the Cadet Ice Arena.

Army opened the scoring early in the first period as Ryan Cruthers scored at the 2:56 mark. His goal came on the power play and was assisted by Bryce Hollweg and Brad Howard.

The score held up until midway through the second period when senior Ryan Wiggins tied the game at the 9:39 mark. Mike Knaeble won the faceoff back to Charbonneau, who made a pass across to Steve Mead. Mead then found Wiggins in the slot.

Wiggins’ first shot hit off the backboards, but he collected the puck again behind the net and stuffed it in the short side to tie the game at 1-1.

A tight defensive struggle followed as neither team had any easy ice. With 2:58 remaining in the third period, Army’s Chase Podsaid was called for holding when he pulled down Eric Ehn at the bottom of the circle.

The ensuing power play led to the game-winning goal. Steve Mead kept the puck in the zone at the blue line and fired a shot toward the net. His shot was knocked down, then Brandon Merkosky’s shot was saved and Charbonneau put back the rebound with 1:13 remaining. The goal was the second of Charbonneau’s young career.

With 35 seconds remaining in the game, Army pulled its goaltender, Brad Roberts, from the net but was unable to create any offense.

Each team scored a power-play goal as Army was 1-for-4 and Air Force was 1-for-7. Air Force outshot Army, 23-16, in the game.

Army was called for 11 penalties for 33 minutes while Air Force was called for eight for 27 minutes. Most of the penalties came after the final whistle sounded as several scuffles broke out on the ice. Roberts made 21 saves for the Black Knights while Peter Foster made just 15 for the Falcons.

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