Air Force scored three second-period goals and then held off Wayne State for a 3-1 win in a CHA game Friday night at the Michigan State Fairgrounds Coliseum in Detroit, Mich.
Air Force improved to 10-19-1 overall and 7-12-0 in the CHA. Wayne State is now 6-21-6 overall and 3-11-5 in the league. Air Force has now won two of three from WSU this season.
With the win, the Falcons clinched fifth place in the CHA. Wayne State will finish sixth in the six-team league. In next week’s CHA Tournament, the Falcons will face fourth-seeded Robert Morris in the first round.
Neither team scored in the opening period, but the Falcons had a 14-4 shot advantage. Air Force nearly lit the lamp with 6:30 remaining in the first period. Air Force won a faceoff in the offensive zone and got the puck back to defenseman Frank Schiavone, but his shot clanked off the cross bar.
Air Force scored three second-period goals for a 3-0 lead at the second intermission. Eric Ehn got the Falcons on the board one minute into the period. Andrew Ramsey skated the puck down the right wing and his centering pass was right on the tape of Ehn who buried his 13th of the season. Brooks Turnquist also assisted on the play.
The Falcons took a 2-0 lead on the power play at the 8:23 mark. After Wayne State was called for too many men on the ice, the Falcons capitalized. Brian Reese dug the puck off the boards and fed Billy Devoney who slid the puck to his defensive partner, Turnquist. Turnquist’s point shot got through traffic and found the back of the net. Two minutes later, Reese’s 10th goal of the season gave AFA a 3-0 lead. Turnquist took a shot from the point and Reese redirected it right in front of the net.
Peter Foster’s bid for a shutout was foiled with 3:01 remaining in the third period as Warrior John Grabarak scored on the power play on a scramble in front of the net.
“We had a great 60-minute effort tonight,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “We were the better team from start to finish. We had some opportunities to put the game out of reach early and didn’t. But, Peter Foster was very good when he needed to be. He didn’t see a lot of shots, but he made some timely saves. We needed to establish a positive feeling entering the playoffs. We needed to feel good about playing in this building since we will be here next week for the tournament.”
The Falcons outshot the Warriors, 31-11, in the first two periods and had a 36-18 advantage in the game. AFA was 1-for-6 on the power play while WSU was 1-for-4. Foster made 17 saves for the Falcons while Will Hooper made 33 for the Warriors.
The same two teams conclude the series, and the regular season, Saturday at 7:05 p.m. EST.