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College Hockey:
Power Play Pivital in Air Force Shutout

— Peter Foster posted his first shutout of the season, and the Falcons scored five power-play goals in a 5-0 win over first-place Alabama-Huntsville in a CHA game Saturday at the Cadet Ice Arena.

The Falcons swept the two-game series and jumped into a tie for fourth place in the CHA. Air Force has now won three straight and four of its last five. The Falcons improved to 9-17-1 overall and 6-10 in the CHA. UAH, 16-10-2 overall and 10-5-1 in the CHA, fell into a tie for first place with Bemidji State.

The sweep was just the second ever over Alabama-Huntsville in the Chargers’ Division I era.

After a scoreless first period, the Falcons erupted for five power-play goals in a span of 10 minutes in the second period. The Falcons used their speed to draw six consecutive penalties on UAH.

Josh Schaffer put the Falcons on the board at the 2:38 mark from Eric Ehn and Brian Reese. After the Falcons won the faceoff, Ehn slid a pass through the crease to Schaffer, who touched it into the open net. Two minutes later, Reese scored from Brooks Turnquist and Michael Mayra. The goal came on a five-on-three power play as Reese tipped in Mayra’s slap shot. Just over one minute later, at the 5:33 mark, Mayra scored a five-on-three goal from Turnquist and Reese. Mayra’s slap shot got through the pads of UAH goalie Scott Munroe for a 3-0 lead.

Andrew Ramsey got on the board at the 8:44 mark with a power-play goal from Reese and Schaffer. After Reese dug the puck out of the boards, Ramsey stick-handled through two UAH defensemen on his way to the net. He then made a move to beat Munroe and give the Falcons a 4-0 lead. Ehn got into the act at the 12:56 mark from Reese and Mayra for the fifth goal of the period. Mayra kept the puck in to the zone on the power play and fed Reese down low. Reese’s pass to Ehn coming down the slot was right on the tape for his team-leading 11th goal of the season.

Neither team scored the rest of the way. Foster stopped all 13 shots he faced in posting his first shutout since Dec. 11, 2004 vs. American International. The shutout is the seventh of his career. He allowed just one goal in the series against UAH, a team that was averaging over four goals per game in its last 12 games.

In Foster’s last four games, all victories, he has stopped 80 of the 85 shots he has faced for a saves percentage of 94.l.

Reese had a career-high five points on one goal and four assists. He extended his goal-scoring streak to six, the longest goal since Justin Kieffer had a 10-game streak in 1996-97.

The Falcons outshot UAH 29-13 in the game, including a 22-9 advantage in the first two periods. Munroe made 16 saves for the Chargers. Marc Narduzzi came in to finish the second period and played 11 minutes, making eight saves and allowing one goal. Munroe was back in the pipes for the third period. The Falcons were 5-11 on the power play while UAH was 0-5. The Chargers were 0-9 on the power play in the series.

“The kids played excellent tonight,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “To hold the first place team to just 13 shots in the entire game is incredible. I thought we broke their spirits early. We played with great intensity. The turning point was when we killed a five-minute major penalty. We gained strength from that penalty kill. Our goaltending was strong. Peter Foster didn’t see a lot of shot, but he made some very timely saves.

“I’ve been saying all season that we have a very good team,” Serratore added. “This is the best, most competitive team I have here. But a team with lesser character would have imploded long ago with all of our adversity. We have hung together as a group, kept battling, and now are reaping the benefits.”

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