Jan 16, 2014 1:00 PM by Jordan Mason
Air Force (12-6-4, 7-3-3 AHA) hosts Sacred Heart (6-16-0, 5-10-0 AHA), Friday-Saturday, Jan. 17-18, at 7:05 p.m. MT each night at Cadet Ice Arena (2,470). Air Force is tied for third place in the AHA with 17 points while Sacred Heart is tied for ninth with 10 points.
After playing eight straight on the road (5-1-2), the Falcons have their first home games since Nov. 29-30 vs. Bentley. AFA will play six of the next eight games at home, including four straight against UConn and Mercyhurst, Jan. 31-Feb. 8.
All games will be broadcast in Colorado Springs on The Animal AM 1300 and on the internet at www.GoAirForceFalcons.com. Jay Ritchie will call the play-by-play. Dave Toller will be the color analyst. Pregame show begins 30 minutes before faceoff each day. All games will be video streamed live on AmericaOne.com.
Chad Demers leads the team with 10 goals and 25 points in 22 games. Demers has scored a point in 16 of the last 21 games. He had three points (1-2-3) in the Army series to lead all Falcons. Demers is tied for fifth in the AHA in all games in points (10-15-25) and is sixth in goals.
Cole Gunner leads the team with 16 assists and is second with 24 points (8-16-24). Gunner has scored in eight straight games, the longest streak by a Falcon this season, and in 16 of the last 21. Gunner is tied seventh in the league in points in all games and is fifth in assists. Gunner had two points (1-1-2) in the Army series.
Alex Halloran is tied for sixth in the AHA in points by a defenseman (3-9-12) in all games while Dan Weissenhofer is eighth (0-9-9). Halloran has five points (3-2-5) in his last seven games.
Freshman A.J. Reid had five points (2-3-5) in his last eight games.
Senior Tony Thomas has scored a point in three straight games and four of the last five.
Sophomore Max Hartner has played in 14 games this season, the first eight at left wing and the last six on defense.
Freshman goalie Chris Truehl has started the last three games and is 3-0-0 with a 1.14 GAA and a .939 saves percentage. He stopped 34 of 37 shots in the Army series.
Jason Torf is out until at least early February with a groin strain suffered in the third period of AFA's 3-2 win over No. 4 Providence, Dec. 30, and has missed the last four games.
Sophomore Ben Carey, who has centered the second line this season and has seven points, is doubtful vs. Sacred Heart with a left shoulder injury suffered against Providence. He did not play against AIC or Army.
Air Force played six road games in 14 days and the Falcons went 5-1.
In the six games, Air Force trailed for just 16 minutes and 26 seconds (all came against Army in the second game)
Those five wins included two wins over ranked team and three conference victories.
The Falcons had to win each game in different fashion, four of them without starting goaltender Jason Torf.
The road trip opened with a dominating 5-2 win over No. 16 Northeastern. The next day the Falcons had to hold off a frantic rally by No. 4 Providence for a 3-2 win.
After a heart-breaking 4-3 overtime loss at AIC, Air Force rebounded for a tight 2-0 victory that was not settled until the final seconds with an empty-netter.
At Army, Air Force led wire-to-wire in a 3-1 win on Friday, but then had to overcome a 2-0 deficit on Saturday for a 4-2 win.
Air Force has won three straight games and lost just once in the last nine games (5-1-3).
Air Force's three-game winning streak is tied for the fifth longest winning streak in the nation. North Dakota has a seven-game winning streak to lead the nation. Mercyhurst, Western Michigan and New Hampshire have all won four straight. Northeastern, Minnesota Duluth and Wisconsin have won three straight.
Series vs. Sacred Heart
Air Force leads the overall series with Sacred Heart, 19-6-4.
Air Force has won six straight in the series.
Last season, AFA swept the Pioneers last season in Connecticut by scores of 5-2 and 6-3.
The last time the teams met in Colorado came in 2011, as AFA swept Sacred Heart by scores of 2-1 and 3-2.
As AHA rivals, the teams have met 25 times and AFA holds a 16-6-3 advantage.
AFA has a 13-4-3 lead in regular season games. The Falcons have a 3-2 lead in playoff games, including a 5-4 overtime win in the 2007 AHA semifinals that propelled the Falcons to their first AHA title.
Sacred Heart holds the distinction of being one of only two AHA teams to end the Falcons season since Air Force joined the league in 2006-07. Sacred Heart beat Air Force, 2-1, in the 2010 AHA Semifinals.
Scouting the Pioneers
Sacred Heart (Fairfield, Conn.) is 6-16-0 overall and 5-10-0 and tied for ninth place in the league. SHU defeated Canisius, 3-2, on Jan. 12 in Buffalo to end a four-game losing streak. After sweeping Army in late November, the Pioneers are just 2-10-0. Four of Sacred Heart's six wins this season have come on the road. Freshman Justin Danforth leads the team with 15 assists and 17 points. Junior Drew George leads the team with six goals and has 12 points. Sophomore Alex Vezzano has seen the most action in the net and had a .895 saves percentage and a 3.86 GAA. However, junior Andrew Bodnarchuk got the start this past Sunday vs. Canisius and made 28 saves in the 3-2 win.