COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Although it was only an exhibition game, Hobey Baker finalist Eric Ehn played like he was in midseason form, scoring two goals and one assist in his Air Force Academy Falcons’ 4-1 victory over the visiting University of Calgary Dinos.
“Ehner decided to get involved and does what Ehner does and zipped a couple in,” said Falcons coach Frank Serratore.
Ehn assisted on what turned out to be the game-winning goal by freshman Derrick Burnett at the 11:43 mark of the second period. Ehn put a shot on net that Burnett, diving, knocked past Dino netminder Scott Talbot to put the Falcons up 2-0 at the time.
The senior forward from Dexter, Mich., also recorded the Falcons’ two tallies in the final frame. Ehn backhanded a long outlet pass from Greg Flynn past Talbot about three minutes in.
“Flynn made the pass of a lifetime and he sprang me — really all I had to do was stand in front of the puck and then skate once it got there,” said Ehn. “Any time you have D that can find forwards like that, you’re going to get opportunities.”
He also aided the Falcons in capitalizing on their second five-on-three opportunity of the game by scoring a quick shot from the point off a faceoff a little over two minutes later.
Freshman Sean Bertsch put the Falcons on the board first about halfway through the opening frame, adding to his family’s Springs hockey legacy — dad Mike scored 145 points in his college career at Colorado College before he went on to coach the Tigers in the mid-70s before joining the staff at USA Hockey as Senior Director of Corporate Affairs.
“Sean Bertsch is the oldest freshman in college hockey history,” Serratore quipped about the 22-year-old. “That’s a pretty experienced guy and he put up a lot of good numbers in junior hockey.”
Overall, Serratore was pleased with the immediate contributions from the freshmen, something that doesn’t happen often in the Falcons’ system.
“We have a 2-0 lead and it was our freshmen — our third and fourth lines and our freshmen that got the lead for us.”
As for goaltending, the Falcons may have their first legitimate starter since Serratore — a former ‘tender himself — has been at the helm in sophomore Andrew Volkening (20 saves).
Volkening was at the top of his game, letting only one puck past him — a tip-in by Calgary captain Ryan Annesley off a delayed penalty call at the 8:13 mark of the third period.
“I don’t think we could have asked him to look more stable and solid,” said Serratore. “[We] couldn’t ask to see more than what we saw tonight.”
“The name of the game is consistency and if he can play like that every night, he’s going to give us a chance every night and that’s all you can ask from your goaltender.”
The Falcons next face the U.S. Under-18 Team next Saturday at Cadet Ice Arena.
Notes: The game was one of the test games for the new two-referee, one-linesman officiating system.