There will be no easing into the 2014-15 hockey season for the Air Force Falcons, as they open up the season with back-to-back home games with the defending Atlantic Hockey Association champion Mercyhurst Lakers on October 10th and 11th. The Lakers were the preseason pick by the coaches to win the conference, collecting six of the 10 possible votes. Air Force, picked to finish third by the coaches, did sweep Mercyhurst last season with scores of 5-3 and 2-0 in Colorado Springs. Both Air Force and Mercyhurst are receiving votes in the USCHO.com national poll, so this is without question an important early tilt for both squads.
Air Force is returning good production from last years 21-14-4 team that finished tied for third in the AHA before bowing out in the AHA Tournament quarterfinals to Niagara. The Falcons return their top line of seniors in left winger Scott Holm, center Chad Demers and right winger Cole Gunner, who combined for 41 goals and 114 points last season for Air Force. This front line hold the key to the season for the Falcons, as evidenced by the fact that when the front line scored at least one goal, the team was 20-7-2. For the entire team, Air Force is returning 63 percent of its goals (73) and 68 percent of its points (213).
In the goal, sophomore Chris Truehl, who was named to the AHA all-rookie team, returns to lead the team after winning eight of the Falcons 15 conference wins last season. In 14 total games last season, Truehl had a 2.01 goals against average and a .921 save percentage. Truehl will be replacing graduate Jason Torf as the number one goalie for the Falcons this year and will have freshman Connor Girard as his backup.
Air Force will benefit from the outstanding coaching of Frank Serratore. Serratore is entering his 18th season as the boss of the Falcons, having earned enough wins to be the all-time winningest coach in Air Force history. Serratore has an overall record of 293-277-62. He has led the Falcons to five AHA Tournament Championships and five NCAA appearances, the last coming in 2012.
Air Force will be entering the weekend series against Mercyhurst on an upbeat note, having defeated McGill University from Montreal in an exhibition game last week by the score of 5-3. The Falcons were led by senior defenseman Mike McDonald and sophomore forward A.J. Reid with two goals apiece. Truehl gave up two goals in his two periods and Girard gave up one goal in the third frame.