Dec 4, 2011 2:52 AM by Lee Douglas/USAFA
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Stephen Carew and Casey Kleisinger each scored two goals as Air Force swept AIC with a 7-3 win in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Olympia Ice Center in Springfield, Mass. Air Force goes into the break with a four-game winning streak and improved to 9-4-2 overall. The Falcons remain in first place with an 8-2-1 league record. AIC fell to 3-12-2 overall and 2-7-2 in the league.
Air Force took a 3-0 lead in the first 3:30 of the game with three goals in a span of 56 seconds. Kleisinger scored an unassisted goal at 2:31 for a 1-0 lead. The Falcons took a 2-0 at the 3:10 mark when Chad Demers put back a rebound of a John Kruse shot. Tim Kirby extended his scoring streak to seven straight games with an assist on the play. AFA took a 3-0 lead just 17 seconds later when Carew tipped in a shot by Cole Gunner. Senior Paul Weisgarber assisted on the play, his ninth helper of the season. The Yellow Jackets cut the deficit to 3-1 at the 11:41 mark. Nick Grasso took the puck off the boards, skated around two Falcons and scored with a wrister from the slot.
AIC cut the Falcon lead to 3-2 at the 10:06 mark of the second period. Steven Hoshaw took a pass from Nathan Sliwinski in the left circle and his wrister through traffic got past Stephen Caple. AIC outshot Air Force throughout the period, but the Falcons capitalized late in the period on the power play. Kyle De Laurell drew a penalty and in the final two minutes and then scored his 11th of the season. On the power play, Scott Mathis' shot from the center point was tipped in by De Laurell at the top of the crease with 12 seconds left in the period.
Midway through the third period, Carew and Kleisinger lit the lamp again. Kleisinger gave the Falcons a 5-2 lead at 9:36 as he outran an AIC defenseman in the neutral zone and scored on the breakaway. Ninety seconds later, Cole Gunner found Carew in the slot and the junior scored his fifth of the year for a 6-2 advantage at 11:01. AIC's Jeff Ceccacci scored a power-play goal with 4:10 left but the Falcons again answered. With 3:45 left, a line rush led to Tony Thomas' first of the season. Kleisinger found Thomas coming down the slot to make the final margin 7-3.
Air Force outshot AIC in the first and third periods and had a 43-23 advantage in the game. AFA was 1-for-5 on the power play while AIC was 1-for-3. Caple made 20 saves for the Falcons as he improved his record to 9-2-2 in 13 starts. Ben Meisner started for the Yellow Jackets and gave up three goals on five shots in the first 3:27 of the game. Freshman Chandler Long made 34 saves for AIC while allowing four goals in 57 minutes.
"They spotted us three goals early, but after that it was a heckuva hockey game," head coach Frank Serratore said. "The goal at the end of the second period (power-play goal by De Laurell) was huge. This was a good road sweep. AIC is a good hockey team and they will beat some people this season. I'm glad we are done with them. This was a huge road sweep for us."
Air Force is now off until Dec. 30 when the Falcons play Colorado College at the World Arena. The Falcons host Denver on Dec. 31 at Cadet Ice Arena.