Posted: Feb 26, 2011 12:38 AM
USAFA, Colo. - Scott Kozlak had a career-high three assists and Jason Torf made 31 saves as Air Force beat Robert Morris, 4-2, in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Friday night at a sold out Cadet Ice Arena at the Air Force Academy. In front of 2,827 fans, Air Force improved to 15-11-6 overall and 13-7-6 in the AHA. Robert Morris fell to 18-10-5 overall and 13-8-5 in the league. With the two points tonight, Air Force moved into a tie for second place in the league with Holy Cross, one point ahead of Robert Morris. Air Force needs a tie or a win on Saturday to clinch a bye in the first round of the playoffs.
Robert Morris outshot Air Force, 5-0, in the first five minutes of the game, but it was the Falcons that scored first. Scott Kozlak forced a turnover behind the net and fed Kyle DeLaurell in the slot. His shot, the first of the game for Air Force, was saved, but Jacques Lamoureux pounded in the rebound for his 17th of the season at 5:24. AFA took a 2-0 lead at 13:45 when freshman defenseman Adam McKenzie scored with a shot from the point for his fifth of the year. Kozlak and Ryan Timar assisted on the play.
The Colonials got on the board on the first shift of the second period. Nathan Longpre won the opening faceoff and Ron Cramer skated in 1-on-1 down the left side. His goal cut the Falcon lead to 2-1 nine seconds into the period. The Falcons answered seven minutes later when freshman George Michalke scored his third of the season. Stephen Carew forced a turnover in his own end and fed Michalke in the neutral zone. Michalke came down the left side and tried the give the puck back to Carew. However, the puck hit off the skate of a Colonial and came right back to him in the circle. His wrister gave AFA a 3-1 lead.
The Falcons held on to the two-goal lead until late in the third period. Air Force had a chance to clear the puck out of its zone, but was not successful. Brandon Blendina knocked it down on the boards and fed Furman South in front for his seventh of the year at the 16:17 mark. With 1:41 left in the third, the Colonials pulled their goaltender. Just 29 seconds later, Air Force sealed the win on Paul Weisgarber's empty-netter. Kozlak intercepted a puck in the neutral zone and flipped a soft chip off the boards. Weisgarber chased it down and scored with 1:12 left in the game.
Air Force outshot Robert Morris, 39-33, in the game. Each team was 0-for-3 on the power play. Jason Torf made 31 saves for Air Force while Brooks Ostergard made 35.
"It was a hard-fought game," head coach Frank Serratore said. "I thought we had the edge on the play and we had the edge on the scoreboard as well. It doesn't always work out that way. I am pleased with our game. Robert Morris is a tough team to play against. We found a way to score a couple goals and then we played with the lead all night. I like our game right now. We had to win four of five against some tough teams and now we put ourselves in a position to possibly get a bye. Saturday night is going to be a battle. We haven't played as well on the second night, but if we want to get over the hump, we will have to get it done on Saturday."
Air Force and Robert Morris conclude the two-game league series Saturday night at the Cadet Ice Arena. The game is already sold out.