Nov 27, 2011 12:44 AM by Jordan Mason
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - Tim Kirby scored two goals as Air Force swept UConn with a 4-3 victory in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Saturday night at the Academy's Cadet Ice Arena. Air Force improved to 7-4-2 overall and 6-2-1 in the AHA and back into first place in the league with 13 points.
UConn, 4-7-2, 3-4-1 AHA, didn't waste any time getting on the board as the Huskies scored on the first shift of the game. Marcello Ranallo took a shot that was saved and popped straight into the air. Daniel Naurato knocked it in just 18 seconds into the game. Air Force answered with a power-play goal at 1:47. John Kruse fed Kyle De Laurell in the right circle to tie the game at 1-1. Adam McKenzie also assisted on De Laurell's team-leading eight of the season. AFA took its first lead of the game late in the second period as freshman Chad Demers scored his fifth of the season. De Laurell drew a penalty and Tim Kirby took a shot from the point that was saved. Paul Weisgarber tipped the puck to Demers on the post who gave the Falcons a 2-1 lead at 15:43. UConn answered just over a minute later with a short-handed goal. Cole Schneider picked up a loose puck and skated in the length of the ice. He shot was stopped by Stephen Caple, but the puck sat in the crease and Alex Gerke punched in the rebound to tie the game at 2-2.
The Huskies regained the lead midway through the second period. Miles Winter skated the puck into the zone on a 2-on-2 rush. His wrister went over the shoulder of Caple for a 3-2 UConn lead at 8:26. The Falcons tied the game with 1:24 remaining. Scott Holm fed Kirby at the center point and the senior defenseman went around two UConn players and drove the net on the right side. Kirby faked a shot on the short side and goaltender Garrett Bartus went down to the ice. Kirby went around the cage and slid the puck into the open net to tie the game at 3-3.
Early in the third period, De Laurell drew two penalties on the same play. The first was a slashing call on Brad Smith in the neutral zone that led to a breakaway. As De Laurell was heading to the net, he was taken down by Brad Cooper. The two penalties gave the Falcons a 5-on-3 power play. Sixteen seconds into the power play, Cole Gunner won a faceoff and De Laurell dropped the puck to Kirby at the point. Kirby's wrister through a screen by Paul Weisgarber was his second of the game and fifth of the season. Late in the period, the Falcons killed two Husky power plays to maintain the one-goal advantage. UConn pulled its goaltender with 1:05 remaining, but were unable to tie the game.
UConn outshot Air Force, 29-27, in the game. AFA was 3-for-7 on the power play while UConn was 0-for-6. UConn came into the series as the No. 1 power-play team in the nation, but the Falcons killed nine of 10 in the series. Bartus made 23 saves for the Huskies while Caple made 26 for the Falcons.
Air Force travels to Springfield, Mass., for a two-game series with AIC, Friday-Saturday, Dec. 2-3, at 7:05 p.m. ET each night.