COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — After a less than stellar performance Friday night, the Air Force Falcons came into Saturday night firing on all cylinders, beating the AIC Yellow Jackets 6-2 and gaining a weekend sweep and a tie for the Atlantic Hockey lead with RIT.
The Falcons came out flying, wasting no time putting the puck in the net, as they scored just over a minute into the first period. After Air Force dumped the puck into the zone, Jacques Lamoureux continued his torrid weekend (six points) by picking up the puck and feeding Derrick Burnett in the slot, who fired a snap shot into the net, scoring on the first shot of the game.
Not only did the Falcons’ offense wake up from its lackluster performance from Friday night, but the defense also came to play, not allowing AIC (2-12-1, 2-10-1 AHA) a shot until 12:15 left in the period.
Defense led to offense, as the tenacious Air Force ‘D’ led to AIC taking a hooking penalty. Air Force quickly jumped on the opportunity, scoring on the power play when Lamoureux tipped a Tim Kirby wrist shot through Yellow Jackets’ goalie Ben Meisner’s (31 saves) five-hole. It was Lamoureux’s third goal of the weekend.
The Falcons kept up the offensive onslaught, tallying another goal with a little over three minutes gone in the second. A slap shot from the point by Brandon Johnson was deflected by Blake Page and ended up behind Meisner to put Air Force up 3-0.
Air Force (8-5-3, 8-1-3 AHA) added another goal later in the period when Matt Weisgarber made a beautiful play, picking the puck out of a scrum in front of the net and without any of the AIC players noticing, skating behind the net and passing to Sean Bertsch, who had a wide open net, adding to the lead.
AIC finally got on the scoreboard with 3:08 left in the second. With the teams four-on-four, the Yellow Jackets took advantage of the wide open ice. A nice cross-ice pass by Mike McMillan found an uncovered Steve McLeod, who put the puck by Andrew Volkening (14 saves).
The Cadets continued to put on the pressure at the beginning of the third period, as Bertsch scored a short-handed goal 44 seconds into the third period. Bertsch did it himself, going end-to-end skating down the left side, cutting to the right and evading a defender as he fired the puck by Meisner.
Air Force did not stop there, as Johnson notched his first collegiate goal when he crashed the net and smacked the puck home as Meisner was unable to control his rebound.
“We just didn’t compete hard tonight,” said AIC coach Mike Field. “We didn’t battle, we didn’t want to do the things that aren’t much fun, we didn’t want to battle on the walls, in the corners, in front of the net, it was just complete lack of wanting to compete.”
Up 6-1, Air Force coach Frank Serratore decided to pull Volkening for freshman David Bosner (six saves). Volkening left to a standing ovation, stopping 45 of the 49 shots he faced on the weekend.
Serratore was much more pleased with his team’s effort tonight.
“What is there not to be happy about?” he asked. “We went out and dominated the game from the start to the end. We got pucks out, we got pucks in, our special teams were very good, we won one-on-one battles consistently. I couldn’t be happier with the performance of our team.”
Air Force tries to continue its nine-game unbeaten streak at home next week against Mercyhurst while AIC takes on Brown in non-conference action this Tuesday in Providence.