Feb 27, 2011 1:42 AM
USAFA, Colo. - Air Force scored three goals in the third period for a 4-2 win over Robert Morris in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Saturday night at a sold out Cadet Ice Arena at the Air Force Academy. In front of 3,047 fans, Air Force clinched a bye in the first round of the AHA playoffs with the win. The Falcons improved to 16-11-6 overall and 14-7-6 in the AHA. AFA is off until March 11-13 in the AHA quarterfinals when the Falcons will host a best of three series at Cadet Ice Arena. Robert Morris fell to 18-11-5 overall and 13-9-5 in the league.
Robert Morris opened the scoring at 13:39 of the first period on the power play. Cody Crichton took a pass from Nathan Longpre behind the net and fed Ron Cramer in front. His first shot was saved, but his follow went five hole for a 1-0 lead.
Air Force tied the game late in the second period when Tim Kirby scored on the power play at 14:12. After winning a faceoff in the offensive zone, Kyle DeLaurell gave the puck to Derrick Burnett in the left circle. His pass through the slot was right on the tape of Kirby who scored his seventh of the season.
The Colonials regained the league at 8:16 of the third period on a wrister from the right circle by Tom Brooks. The Falcons scored the final three goals of the game. Just over a minute later, AFA tied the game at the 9:17 mark on a power-play goal by Jacques Lamoureux. Burnett gave him a pass in the slot and Lamoureux scored his 18th of the season. DeLaurell also assisted on the play. AFA took its first lead of the game at 15:29 on Burnett's eighth of the year. Mike Walsh knocked down a puck at the blue line and took a shot from the center point. Burnett's tip in gave the Falcons a 3-2 lead. With just under four minutes left in the game, Brad Sellers drew a penalty, the third one he drew of the game. On the delayed penalty, Scott Kozlak took a shot that bounced hard off the back wall. Kirby tried to stuff it in on the wrap around but was denied by Brooks Ostergard. Sean Bertsch put in the rebound for a 4-2 lead at 16:37. RMU pulled its goalie with 1:16 left, but was unable to score.
"Getting a bye from the west pod is no easy feat," head coach Frank Serratore said. "It was a street fight all the way. We had to win five of six against some of the top teams in the league down the stretch. Our guys took care of business tonight. It wasn't a great start and I thought Robert Morris had more energy early on. In 30 years of coaching, I have never coached a team as resilient as these guys. They have gotten off the mat so many times season. Twice tonight. We got it from everyone tonight. It takes a lot of instruments to make an orchestra. Our guys are so unselfish. Everyone has a role and we needed everyone tonight. That is how we have to play."
Air Force outshot RMU, 40-22, in the game. AFA was 2-for-7 on the power play while Robert Morris was 1-for-2. Ostergard made 36 saves for the Colonials. Jason Torf made 20 for the Falcons.
Air Force is off until the Atlantic Hockey Association quarterfinals on March 11-12 and March 13 if necessary. The games will be at 7:05 p.m. each night at Cadet Ice Arena. Tickets are on sale now by going to www.GoAirForceFalcons.com