COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Off the strength of a Jacques Lamoureux hat trick and two empty-net goals, the Air Force Academy Fighting Falcons beat the University of Connecticut Huskies Saturday night 4-1 in front of 3,206 people, the third largest crowd in school history. The sellout was also the ninth this season, setting the school record for sellouts in one season for any sport.
“I really liked our third period,” said Falcons’ coach Frank Serratore. “We’ve gotten leads too many times in this tough stretch we’ve had and we tried to wish our way through the final minutes of the game and we didn’t do that tonight. We worked our way through the final 10-12 minutes.”
The teams battled through a scoreless first before Air Force finally broke the deadlock 1:43 into the second period. Scott Mathis took a shot from just inside the blue line that Huskies’ netminder Beau Erickson (32 saves) kicked out to his right. Lamoureux picked up the rebound and roofed it over Erickson’s left shoulder for the 1-0 lead.
Just 2:04 later, the Huskies tied it up on a power-play goal. Air Force goaltender Andrew Volkening (19 saves) stopped the original shot by Chris Waterstradt but couldn’t hold on, fell to the ice and Matt Pedemonti was on the back door to knock in the puck once it squeezed free.
The score stayed tied until about five and a half minutes into the third period when Lamoureux potted his second of the night.
“I was kind of late on the backcheck so if I hadn’t scored, Frank probably would have killed me,” he quipped. “Sellers got the puck from their guy and I just kind of picked it up with speed and their d-man was flat-footed and I thought about shooting but saw him standing still so I thought I’d maybe make a move and get across the crease.”
The score remained 2-1 in favor of the Falcons until late in the third period. With 1:15 remaining, UConn coach Bruce Marshall pulled Erickson to try and get the equalizer despite being short-handed.
However, with just 58 seconds to go, Lamoureux took a pass from Josh Frider and tapped it in the open net for the hat trick and the 3-1 lead.
“It was a tight game; that penalty at the end took some life out of us,” said Marshall. “I thought our ‘D’ played really well; I thought Beau did a nice job keeping us in the game, making some good saves.”
Marshall kept Erickson out of the net to try and get the next goal, but the Falcons got another empty-net tally, this time thanks to Sean Bertsch.
The Falcons next travel to Bentley for a weekend series while the Huskies return home to face Mercyhurst.