How much of a force is Air Force?

You have to give Air Force credit. They’ve played 11 games and won them all.

That being said, it’s hard to put the Falcons near the top of the college hockey rankings yet because of a factor that, admittedly, is mostly out of their control.

They haven’t yet played a team with a winning record, and when those teams aren’t exactly the Boston Colleges and Minnesotas of the world, it’s doubly a strike. Nine of their 11 games have been against Atlantic Hockey opponents, so there’s little control over that part of the schedule. The two non-conference games came at home against Bemidji State, and the Falcons took care of business there.

This discussion should change directions next weekend. Air Force hosts Colorado College on Friday and plays at Denver on Saturday, two games that will show an awful lot about how good the Falcons are.

Still, there are some more positive signs for the Air Force program than just the record. It locked up coach Frank Serratore this week with a new five-year contract that runs through the 2012-13 season.

And in Friday’s 8-1 victory over Sacred Heart, a record 3,535 fans packed Cadet Ice Arena. This is an excerpt from the story in The Gazette:

“The energy in the building was amazing,” said Air Force coach Frank Serratore, who had never seen fans turned away at the Ice Arena. “That fueled our team.”

A combination of promotions – including free food – and cadets restricted to the base helped attract fans that stood three deep to watch the unbeaten Falcons.

We’ll see where it goes from here, but there’s a pretty good story brewing at the Academy. I had the Falcons at No. 14 on my ballot last week. It’s going to take a win or two next weekend to move them into the top 10.