Air Force downs AIC 3-0 - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Air Force downs AIC 3-0

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Junior Billy Christopoulos stopped all 29 shots he faced as Air Force blanked AIC, 3-0, in an Atlantic Hockey Conference game Friday, Feb. 2, at the Academy’s Cadet Ice Arena. Christopoulos, the AHC Goalie of the Month for January, earned his second shutout in the last five games.

Air Force (14-11-3, 9-9-2 AHC) opened the scoring less than three minutes into the game. On the rush, Matt Koch gained the zone and fed Ben Kucera in the slot. Kucera slid the puck to Pierce Pluemer coming down the left side and the sophomore netted his third of the season at 2:51. With 6:48 left in the first period, Air Force was called for covering the puck in the crease, giving the Yellow Jackets a penalty shot. Blake Christensen took the shot, patiently skating down the right side. As he tried to tuck the puck around the left pad, Christopoulos made the save to preserve the 1-0 lead. AIC outshot Air Force, 15-5, in the first period.

Early in the second period, AIC continued to pressure Air Force. Through the first 26 minutes of the game, AIC outshot Air Force, 22-5. However, in the final 34 minutes of the game, the Falcons outshot the Yellow Jackets, 13-7.

Midway through the third period, the Falcons took a 2-0 lead. Tyler Ledford won an offensive zone faceoff and Dylan Abood fired a shot from the point. The puck caromed off of Evan Giesler and into the net at 7:40. With 2:20 left in the game, AIC pulled its goalie and the Falcons took advantage. Jonathan Kopacka won a stick battle along the wall and Kyle Haak chipped the puck out. Matt Serratore collected it in the neutral zone and scored the empty-netter for a 3-0 lead.

AIC (10-16-3, 9-12-3 AHC) outshot Air Force, 29-18, in the game. Air Force was 0-for-1 on the power play while AIC was 0-for-4. Air Force has killed 27 of the last 28 opponent power plays. Zackarias Skog made 15 saves for AIC.

“This was one of the hardest-earned shutouts I have ever seen,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “Billy Christopoulos was terrific. I give AIC a lot of credit. They are skilled and took advantage of the room we gave them. We needed Billy to get us to the third period and he did. Then, I thought we played a great third period. I really liked how we finished the game, but give Billy all the credit.”

Air Force and AIC conclude the two-game series on Saturday, Feb. 3, at 5:05 pm MT at Cadet Ice Arena.

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