COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Different night, same score. The University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers stopped the Air Force Falcons for a second consecutive night and obtained the sweep in the rubber game between the two teams.
After a quiet start to the first period that featured a defensive struggle on both sides, Alabama-Huntsville got the scoring started with a goal with 4:51 remaining. After a nice save by Andrew Volkening (23 saves) on a Cody Campbell shot, Andrew Coburn, coming off a goal from the previous night, grabbed the rebound and slammed the puck home.
“His game is still getting there; I still think by taking on that number one center role he’s still getting there,” UAH coach Danton Cole said of Coburn. “He’s incredibly fit and works real hard and we’re working on some things, including the draws and defensively.”
Air Force tied the game up with less than a minute remaining in the first. Soon after a UAH penalty, the Falcons went on the offensive. AFA peppered UAH goalie Cameron Talbot (34 saves) with a few shots, including a wrist shot by Scott Mathis that rang off the left post. Soon after, a scrum around the net led to Stephen Carew scoring his first collegiate goal.
The Falcons took a 2-1 advantage off a two-on-one when Talbot gave up a rebound on a Jac Lamoureux shot that was quickly picked up by Matt Fairchild, who smacked it past Talbot.
Air Force was not able to hold this lead for long, as UAH’s Tom Train tied the game just as a Falcon penalty ended 10:39 into the second. The goal was similar to many of the goals that the Chargers have had this season.
“We able to get to the net and bang in a rebound,” Cole said. “Out of our 12 or 13 goals this year, I think ten of them have come on rebounds.”
Alabama-Huntsville took the lead for good with another goal less than two minutes later. Chris Fairbanks took control of the puck and with an impressive wraparound put the Chargers up 3-2.
The Chargers ended the scoring with 15:58 left in the third period with another rebound goal. Campbell found another puck in front of the net after a shot by Coburn and buried it past Volkening to make it 4-2.
“We never won a period in the four games we’ve played, and if you can’t win a period you can’t win a game,” said Falcons’ coach Frank Serratore. “I don’t care how good you are or how bad you are in this game, you better play with a sense of urgency. We played better this weekend but at times during the second and third period we didn’t get enough penetration. They were better at the little things, they supported each other very well. They won key faceoffs. They ended up penetrating and scoring the blue-collar goals. They are a very well-coached team.”
Air Force had a chance to close the gap with 3:57 left in the third period when the Falcons pulled their goalie and Alabama-Birmingham took two consecutive penalties. Up six-on-three, the Falcons were repeatedly turned away by Talbot.
“They hunkered down and blocked shots and were not afraid to put their bodies in the way,” Serratore said of the Chargers’ effort.
Of Talbot’s amazing two-day performance, where he stopped a total of 74 shots, Cole said of his goalie, “Obviously, you have to have good goaltenders to have a good team; we’re riding him right now and he’s pretty focused and not much is getting by him.”
With the loss Air Force falls to 0-4-0 while Alabama-Huntsville’s record improves to 3-1-0.
Both teams are in action next Friday, with Air Force hosting RIT at Cadet Arena, game time at 7:05 MST, while Alabama-Huntsville is at home against Western Michigan, game time at 7:05 CST.