The Air Force Falcons and the Mercyhurst Lakers split an important opening weekend series in Colorado Springs. Both teams are considered in the top tier of the Atlantic Hockey Association and both teams dominated one game in the series. On Friday night, Air Force defeated the Lakers 5-1; and then the Lakers rebounded with a 4-2 victory on Saturday.
Friday - Air Force 5 Mercyhurst 1
Air Force would ride their specials teams in this game, as they would score their first goal when A.J. Reid would score a power play goal to give Air Force a lead in the first period. The Lakers would respond when Chris Bodo would score the only goal on the night for the visitors. Air Force would turn to their special teams again as they would kill a 5-on-3 advantage early in the second period by using six blocked shots and one huge save by Chris Truehl. At this point, the Air Force offense would take over by scoring three goals in 78 seconds highlighted by Reid's second goal. Freshman defenseman Phil Boje and freshman forward Eric Baskin would chip in the other two goals for Air Force in the second period. Senior defenseman Mike McDonald finished the night's scoring in the third period to cap off a great offensive night for the Falcons to claim the season opener.
Saturday - Mercyhurst 4 Air Force 2
The second game in the series would be highlighted by Mercyhurst goalie Jimmy Sarjeant. Sarjeant would come up with 40 saves on the night to help the Lakers pull out a needed victory to avoid being swept by the Air Force team in Colorado Springs. After a scoreless first period, the second period would see senior forward Cole Gunner score his first goal of the season. From this point forward, Mercyhurst would take control of the game as they would scores four straight goals (1 each by Kyle Dutra, Jonathan Charbonneau, Alec Shields, and Nardo Nagtzaam) and then ride the hot goalie to victory. The Falcons would score in the third period when Gunner would score his second goal of the game. Gunner would be the only Falcon capable of finding room in the brick wall put up by Sarjeant however.
The Week Ahead for Air Force
Air Force heads to Alaska this upcoming weekend to take on the University of Alaska on Friday night and then face Alaska-Anchorage on Saturday afternoon. The games will both take place in Fairbanks as part of the Brice Alaska Gold Rush Classic. Penn State will be the other team involved, but the Falcons will not play the Nittany Lions.