Mar 12, 2011 2:33 AM
USAFA, Colo. - Jacques Lamoureux scored two goals and Stephen Caple came on in relief to make 12 saves as Air Force beat Sacred Heart, 7-5, in the first game of an Atlantic Hockey Association best-of-three quarterfinal series, Friday night at the Cadet Ice Arena at the Air Force Academy. Air Force extended its winning streak to five games, the fourth-longest winning streak in the nation. Game two of the series is Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at the Academy. Game three if necessary would be Sunday at 7:05 p.m.
Sacred Heart opened the scoring at 3:38 of the first period when Torin Snydeman scored on a rebound of an Eric Delong shot. The Falcons answered with three goals in the next two minutes. John Kruse tied the game at 3:57 with a backhander from the left circle that went high, blocker side. Tim Kirby and Scott Mathis assisted on the play. AFA took a 2-1 lead on freshman George Michalke's fourth of the season. His goal from Paul Weisgarber and John Kruse came at 5:28. Thirty-five seconds later, the Falcons had a 3-1 lead on Lamoureux's first of the game. Kyle DeLaurell and Derrick Burnett fed Lamoureux in front who went five hole on SHU starter Oliver St. Onge. After the goal, St. Onge was replaced by sophomore Steven Legatto. The Pioneers answered at 10:45 on a turnover in the neutral zone. Matt Gingera skated down the left side on a 2-on-1. His shot hit Jason Torf in the pad and went in to make the score 3-2. Twenty-six seconds later, the Falcons answered as senior Sean Bertsch scored at the 11:11 mark. Freshman Ryan Timar forced a turnover and drew the defenseman and goaltender to his side. His pass to the left side found a wide open Bertsch who netted his fourth of the year. However, the Pioneers scored on the power play as Kyle Verbeek scored on the rebound and the Falcons had a 4-3 lead at the intermission.
Air Force started the second period on the power play and Lamoureux scored his second of the game and 20th of the season. Tim Kirby gave the puck to his defensive partner Scott Mathis in the Falcon end. Mathis went coast-to-coast and fed Lamoureux in the right circle who scored 35 seconds into the period. The Pioneers scored the next two goals to tie the game at 5-5. Anthony Yelovich put back a rebound of a Patrick Knowlton shot at 3:18 to make the score 5-4. Less than three minutes later, Gingera put back a rebound on the power play to tie the game. After the goal, Torf was pulled from the Falcon net and replaced by Caple. Freshman Tony Thomas broke the tie with 53 seconds left in the second period on a tic-tac-toe play. John Kruse made a cross ice pass to Jason Fabian on the left side. Fabian found Thomas on the back door for his seventh of the season.
With 3:58 left in the third period, DeLaurell scored his 10th of the season for a 7-5 Falcon lead. Lamoureux started the rush down the right side and Burnett touched it to DeLaurell who was skating down the slot. The Pioneers pulled their goaltender in the final 43 seconds, but were unable to score.
Air Force outshot Sacred Heart in every period and had a 41-28 advantage in the game. AFA was 1-for-4 on the power play while SHU was 2-for-3. St. Onge started the game and gave up three goals on nine shots in the first six minutes. Legatto came in and played the final 53 minutes and made 28 saves while allowing four goals. Torf made 11 saves and allowed five goals in 26 minutes for the Falcons. Caple came on in the second period and played the final 34 minutes and stopped all 12 shots he faced.
"We didn't play very well defensively, but they are a very good offensive team," head coach Frank Serratore said. "Thankfully, Stephen Caple came in and stopped the bleeding. We played a lot better in the second half of the game, especially in the third period."