Hockey: AFA holds on for 3-2 win over UCONN

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Air Force took a 3-1 lead into the third period and then held off UConn for a 3-2 win Nov. 16 in an Atlantic Hockey Association game at the Cadet Ice Arena.

Air Force improved to 6-3 overall and 4-3 in the AHA. UConn fell to 2-6 overall and 2-5 in the league.

With the win, head coach Frank Serratore earned his 155th victory at the Academy, a record in Air Force hockey history. He moves past John Matchefts (1975-85) and Chuck Delich (1986-97) who each had 154 coaching wins at AFA.

Air Force controlled the play in the first period, outshooting UConn, 15-2, in the first 20- minutes. However, the Falcons didn't get on the board until the 15:38 mark when Brent Olson scored his first of the year. Sean Bertsch dropped a pass to Matt Fairchild in the right corner. Fairchild skated around the net and his shot was saved, but Olson put back the rebound.

UConn tied the game early in the second period with a power-play goal by Andrew Olson at the 4:17 mark. Jeff Sapieha took a shot that hit a defenseman's skate. Olson picked up it up in the right circle and fired the puck that went off of Andrew Volkening's stick and up into the net.

However, after that, it was all Air Force. The Falcons out-shot the Huskies, 15-7, in the second period. Freshman Scott Kozlak gave the Falcons a 2-1 lead at the 6:15 mark, his third tally of the season. Frank Schiavone found Blake Page skating through the neutral. Page skated down the slot and his shot was saved, but Kozlak put back the rebound.

The Falcons continued to pressure the Huskies and took a 3-1 lead at the 10:28 mark on some passing by Josh Frider and Jeff Hajner. Frider made a no-look pass to Hajner in the right circle. Hajner's cross-ice pass was right on the tape of Eric Ehn who was coming with speed down the left side. Ehn tipped the puck past Beau Erickson for his third of the season. Air Force had all the momentum in the third period, but was unable to get anything else past Erickson.

UConn came out in the third period and completely dominated play. The Huskies had just seven shots in the first 40 minutes, but had nine shots in the first seven minutes of the third period. One of those nine came off the stick of Ryan Hawkins on the power-play to make the score 3-2. Just 53 seconds into the third period, Hawkins' first of the season came from Sapieha and Sean Erickson. Air Force evened the playing field midway through the third period, out-shooting 5-2 in the final 13 minutes. Volkening made 10 saves in the third period to preserve the win.

"Everything we did well in the first two periods tonight, we gave away in the third," head coach Frank Serratore said. "We got lucky tonight. They wanted it more than we did when the game was on the line. Losing face-offs, losing the third period. That is unacceptable. We won the game, but this is not a win you can build on. We dodged a bullet tonight."

Air Force out-shot UConn, 35-20, in the game. UConn was 2-for-4 on the power play while AFA was 0-for-2. Volkening stopped 18 of 20 shots for AFA while Erickson made 32 saves for UConn.

The same two teams conclude the series Nov. 17 at 7:35 MT pm at the Air Force Academy.

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