COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Peter Foster made 24 saves to lead Air Force to a 3-1 win over first-place Alabama-Huntsville in a College Hockey America game Friday night at the Cadet Ice Arena.
Air Force has now won three of its last four games and improved to 8-17-1 overall and 5-10 in the CHA. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for UAH, the third-hottest team in the country. UAH fell to 16-9-2 overall and 10-4-1 in the league. The win was Air Force’s first of the season against UAH.
The Chargers are still in first place in the CHA, two points ahead of Niagara and Bemidji State. The Falcons jumped ahead of Wayne State and moved into fifth place in the league.
The Falcons struck first as Matt Bader scored his fifth of the season at the 8:12 mark of the first period. Greg Flynn chipped the puck up the boards to Josh Schaffer, who skated past a UAH defenseman and into the zone. His shot was saved, but Bader cleaned up the rebound.
Midway through the second period, Brian Gineo scored a power-play goal for a 2-0 lead. Schaffer fed Eric Ehn from behind the net, and Ehn’s pass through the slot was right on the tape of Gineo at the bottom of the right circle. His sixth goal, and fourth power-play goal, of the season gave the Falcons a two-goal lead.
The Chargers came back to get within one goal as Tyler Hilbert scored at the 7:44 mark of the third period from Brett McConnachie and Kevin Galerno. McConnachie made a pass past an Air Force defenseman to Hilbert who was all alone down the left wing. Hilbert’s shot from the faceoff dot deflected off of Foster’s glove and went high inside the far post.
Air Force put the game away with 3:47 remaining on Brian Reese’s eighth goal of the season and his seventh in the last five games. Theo Zacour made a pass up ice to Mike Knaeble. As Knaeble was charging the net, he was pulled down from behind, drawing a penalty. Before the whistle blew, and with the puck sitting on the ice near the right faceoff dot, Reese skated in and went high to beat Scott Munroe for a two-goal advantage.
With 1:20 remaining, UAH pulled Munroe from the net but did not mount any offense as the Falcons kept the play in the neutral zone or deep in the UAH end.
Foster made 24 saves in the game, earning his fifth win of the season. He has been in the net for all three of Air Force’s wins in the past four games. Munroe made 31 saves for the Chargers.
The Falcons outshot UAH 34-25 in the game. The two teams combined for 29 shots in the first period as Air Force held a 17-12 advantage after two periods. Air Force was 1-5 on the power play, while UAH was 0-3.
“This was a great team win tonight,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “Our effort was very good and the best team won tonight. Peter Foster gave us some big, timely saves that gave us some extra life when we needed it. There were no chinks in our armor tonight. This is the third time this season that we have knocked off the first place team in our rink and they were the third-hottest team in the country coming in to tonight’s game.”
The same two teams conclude the series Saturday at the Cadet Ice Arena. Faceoff is at 7:05 p.m. MST.