COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — After being on the road for the two previous series and then off for the Thanksgiving holiday, it had been a long time since the Air Force Falcons had the support of their hometown fans. But on Friday — behind a superb effort from forward Jacques Lamoureux and Andrew Volkening — the Air Force Falcons gave them something to cheer about as they skated their way past the AIC Yellowjackets, 5-3.
We won the game for two reasons, Air Force coach Frank Serratore said. We had the two best players on the rink: Volkening and Lamoureux.
It was an ugly first period as both Air Force and AIC were unable to get any flow going. Both teams struggled to gain the upper hand as it was back and forth with little offense until the final minutes of the first period.
Air Force got on the score sheet with 1:14 left in the first. Lamoureux stole the puck from an AIC player and hit Paul Weisgarber with a nice pass. Weisgarber did the rest as he rifled the puck past AIC goalie Dan Ramirez (24 saves), who had fallen down and was unable to get back into position.
AIC answered right back with a goal of their own a little over a minute later with only 4.9 seconds remaining. After the Falcons Derrick Burnett was sent off for slashing, the Yellowjackets didnt waste any time as a Jeff Ceccacci wrist shot was deflected by Richard Leitner past Volkening for a power play goal.
The Falcons did not wait nearly as long to put another tally on the board, as they took the lead 4:46 into the second period.
When AICs Dean Yakura went off on a hooking call the Cadets attacked. Air Forces John Kruse took the puck behind the net, and fired a shot at the Yellowjacket net from just inside the left faceoff circle. The shot caught Ramirez off guard as the puck deflected off his pad and into the net for a 2-1 Falcon lead.
The Yellowjackets refused to go away as they again waited until there was less than a minute left in the period to score. With 39.2 seconds to go in the second period, AICs Mike Little picked up a lazy Air Force drop pass and quickly passed to a breaking Steve McLeod. McLeod streaked down the right side and fired a hard wrister, beating Volkening (31 saves) stick side to tie the game at two.
It was all Falcons in the third period, or at least all Lamoureux, as he tallied two goals and an assist, to help put the game out of reach.
After a quick Burnett goal and a Yellowjacket goalie switch to backup Ben Meisner (five saves), Lamoureux took over. A little over a minute later he did it himself as he took it into the AIC zone, skated untouched across the crease and slipped the puck past Ramirez to make it a two goal game, 4-2.
After another Lamoureux tally, the game was seemingly out of reach but the Yellowjackets went on the offensive. A relentless effort, plus a 5-on-3 advantage led to AICs second power play goal of the game, but it was too little too late.
We played fairly well, AIC Coach Mike Field stated. We had two missed communications between our goalie and defensemen that led to their first goal and I know Danny (Ramirez) would like to have that second goal back but for the most part I think we did a good job tonight.
Although they got the win, Serratore was not pleased by his teams effort.
I cannot think of a game that I have coached at Air Force where we played this poorly and won, he said disappointedly. I dont have much good to say about it.
The two teams are back in action Saturday night at Cadet Ice Arena. Game time is 7:05 p.m.