WEST POINT, N.Y. – In the first meeting of their weekend series, Air Force was able to get a 3-1 win over Army with solid play from goaltender Chris Truehl.
The freshman called the contest “a different type of game.”
“It’s a great rivalry and I just tried to do what I could and stay within myself and let the team take care of the rest,” said Truehl.
In an up-tempo first period, the Falcons struck 12 minutes into the period. Cole Gunner made a great pass from the corner to Chad Demers flying to the net, who was able to tap it in past Army goaltender Rob Tadazak.
Gunner spoke about the goal after the game.
“Jacob Musselman got the puck in neutral zone and made a great pass to me,” said Gunner. “I just looked up and saw Demers streaking to the net. I just tried to put the puck on his tape and it hit his tape and he put it in. I think the reason our line has been doing so well is because we are all juniors and we went through freshman year together, which is when you get really close to your classmates. Now that we have been playing with each other for a couple years, we know where each other are on the ice without even looking and we all bring something different.”
Air Force added to its lead in the second period when Tadazak (26 saves) made two saves on initial attempts that took him out of position and caused a scrum in front of the net.
John Hrbovsky was able to get the rebound and slide the puck to Jason Fabian in the high slot who wristed it past Tadazak at 8:11 of the period.
In the second half of the period, the game started to get physical.
Air Force took an elbowing penalty and after the man-advantage expired, Dan Weissenhofer almost immediately received a retaliation boarding penalty, giving Army another power play.
Army did not waste any time to set up their power play and went on the attack.
Andrew O’Leary made a great cross-ice pass to Willie Faust, who fired a slap shot from the right circle that found the top corner, putting Army within one at 18:23 of the second.
“That was a great play,” said Black Knights’ coach Brian Riley. “You hope your power play can connect three passes together and we did on that one. It was kind of a tic-tac-toe play and that’s something and tonight was a night where we did win the special-team battle and usually if you can do that, it will put you in a position to win the game, but it seems like we have been getting one or another and we have to figure out how to put it altogether.”
At the start of the third period, Air Force’s persistent forecheck put the Falcons back up by two at 7:36. Tony Thomas made a beautiful pass from behind the net that found A.J. Reed at the right circle, who fired a booming slap shot that snuck underneath the cross bar.
Air Force coach Frank Serratore praised Truehl (20 saves) after the win.
“I thought Truehl was good [and] he did what he had to do,” said Serratore. “The only goal he gave up, he had no chance on. As the game went on, I thought he gained confidence. He didn’t have to make many spectacular saves, but a couple of those could have found the back of the net if he hadn’t shut it down and gobbled up the puck.”