COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Air Force Punches Ticket to Rochester
Olson Gets Hat Trick in Victory
After Saturday night’s 5-1 loss to the Sacred Heart Pioneers, Air Force coach Frank Serratore told his players to rest up and get ready to play again the next day.
Given the Falcons’ 8-1 win over the Pioneers, it was apparent his team listened.
“Right from this morning, we all said, ‘Hey, if you don’t think we can win, get out of here,’” said Jacques Lamoureux, who had four points on the night. “Everybody came together and we said, ‘Hey, we’re going to beat the crap out of these guys tonight,’ and that’s what we did from the drop of the puck.”
Air Force came out strong, taking the lead six minutes into the first period. The Falcons never gave it up. Paul Weisgarber won a draw in the Pioneer zone back to Greg Flynn who fired a shot from the point that went five-hole on Sacred Heart netminder Stefan Drew (14 saves).
“It was very, very important for us to get the lead in the game because when we get the lead, they’ve got to try and open up, they’ve got to try to get back in the game,” said Serratore. “Getting the lead forced them to skate with us and they had a very difficult time skating with us.”
About two and a half minutes later while on a four-on-three advantage, Flynn put the Falcons up 2-0 on his second tally of the game when he one-timed a Michael Mayra pass from the top of the circle under Drew’s left shoulder.
The two goals felt especially good for Flynn after his accidental own goal Saturday night.
“When you score on your own net and you don’t get any points for it, it’s really frustrating,” said Flynn, adding, “It was good to go out there and finish my last home game like that with getting my first game-winner of my career.”
The Pioneers, vastly outplayed on the ice and in the shot column, didn’t even muster a shot on net until 5:55 remained in the opening frame, making the shots at that point 16-1 for Air Force.
With 1:15 left in the period, Lamoureux scored his nation-leading 30th goal of the season to put the Falcons up 3-0. Lamoureux took a pass from Flynn at center ice by the benches, skated it into the zone and fired a shot from the goal line that banked off Drew’s shoulder and the crossbar before landing in the net for the power play tally.
“I kinda saw him take a peek to the center of the ice and so I threw it right in his pads and it ended up bouncing over his glove. I think it caught him off guard,” said Lamoureux. “My dad and my brother are goalies and they kinda give me those pointers. Watch the goalie’s eyes, see what he’s doing. He took a quick peek, turned his head and he ended up taking his eye off the puck.”
Hannah replaced Drew with backup Olivier St. Onge to start the second period and the Falcons wasted no time testing the new goaltender. Lamoureux scored his second of the night a mere 45 seconds in, with his shot from the high slot beating St. Onge (29 saves) high to the glove side.
63 seconds later, the Pioneers finally got on the board with a power-play goal of their own when Erik Boisvert one-timed a pass from Dave Grimson from the bottom of the left circle past Falcon goaltender Andrew Volkening (14 saves).
Brent Olson knocked in a Lamoureux rebound another 90 seconds after that to give the Falcons their four-goal lead back.
Olson netted his second of the night thanks to a fluky bounce off a Pioneer defenseman with 3:14 remaining in the second to put the Falcons up 6-1 and Jeff Hajner scored on a power-play blast from the top of the right circle to make it 7-1.
The Falcons added one more goal 7:44 into the third period when Olson walked off the far boards near the circle and fired his third of the night past St. Onge.
“You get into these situations and you need your leaders to lead. The leaders must lead,” said Serratore. “The leaders had to lead and the leaders led tonight. Brent Olson, Flynn, Lamoureux, Frider — those are the guys. They lead and the rest of the guys follow and do their part.”
The Falcons next play Bentley in Rochester in the Atlantic Hockey semifinals. Game time is at 4:05 Eastern.