Hockey: No. 20 Air Force sweeps Army with 3-2 win

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Derrick Burnett scored two goals in the first period and the U.S. Air Force Academy held off a furious U.S. Military Academy rally for a 3-2 win in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Jan. 24 at the Cadet Ice Arena here. 

The Falcons also won 5-1 Jan. 23 to sweep the series for the first time since 2005.

Air Force improved to 17-6-1 overall and 14-3-1 in the AHA. The Falcons moved into a tie for first place in the league.

Army scored a goal first, but it was Air Force that quickly answered in the first period. The Falcons answered just eight seconds later as Burnett scored on a rush. On the ensuing faceoff, Matt Fairchild tipped the puck to Jeff Hajner who skated down the left side. His cross ice pass was right on the tape of Burnett, who tied the game with a wrister that went high, glove side. 

Burnett's second of the game, and third of the series, gave Air Force a 2-1 lead with just 69 seconds left in the first period. Air Force was killing a penalty when Burnett intercepted a pass at center ice. As Burnett skated down the left side, the penalty expired and the sophomore from Corona, Calif., ripped a slap shot high stick side.

The Falcons took a 3-1 lead early in the second period on a goal by Blake Page. Greg Flynn knocked down a clearing attempt by Army and took a shot that was deflected. Page batted the puck in for his fifth of the season.

Air Force held the 3-1 lead until late in the game. With 1:55 left in the third period, a penalty was called on Greg Burgdoerfer and Army pulled its goaltender for a two-man advantage and scored with 43 seconds left in the game. Army kept the puck in the zone for the entire 43 seconds with the extra skater on the ice, but was not able to score.

The Falcons outshot Army 25-19 in the game. Air Force went 0-for-5 on the power play and 0-for-13 in the series. Andrew Volkening made 17 saves in goal.

"I liked our energy again," head coach Frank Serratore said. "I thought the better team won. We persevered after the first goal, but we took some bad penalties again. We just couldn't break them. If we would have gotten the fourth goal it may have broken their spirits. We haven't had our legs moving for a long, long time, but we did this weekend and that is certainly a positive. Our foundation is built on the legs of our forwards and they did a good job in the series. I thought we deserved to win both games, but we have some things to work on."

Air Force is on the road next as the Falcons travel to Erie, Pa., for a two-game AHA series with Mercyhurst Jan. 30 and31. 

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