Air Force Blanks Mercyhurst 2-0
Chris Truehl recorded his third shutout in the last 13 games and the top line scored both goals as Air Force blanked first-place Mercyhurst, 2-0, in an Atlantic Hockey Association game, Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Academy's Cadet Ice Arena. Air Force swept the two-game series and picked up four points in the conference standings. Air Force improved to 17-9-4 overall and 12-6-3 in the league. Mercyhurst fell to 15-12-5 overall and 13-4-4 in the league. Mercyhurst is still in first place in the league while Air Force is tied for third with UConn with 27 points.
The game was scoreless for the first 58 minutes before the Falcons' top line lit the lamp. With just under two minutes remaining, both Chad Demers and Cole Gunner hit posts. The Lakers controlled the puck and tried to clear the zone, but Gunner intercepted the pass and fed Demers in front who scored his 13th of the season with 1:34 left in the third. With just under a minute remaining, the Lakers pulled the goalie in favor of the extra attacker. After a faceoff in the Air Force end, Dan Weissenhofer's clear attempt bounced into the neutral zone and Gunner collected it. After skating to the far blue line, Gunner slid the puck in the empty net for a 2-0 lead with 20 seconds left. Scott Holm also assisted on the play. Air Force outshot Mercyhurst, 40-24, in the game. Both teams were 0-for-3 on the power play. Truehl made 24 saves for the Falcons while Jordan Tibbett made 38 for the Lakers.
"It was a good weekend for us in sweeping the first-place team," head coach Frank Serratore said. "All of guys played hard tonight. We wore them down a bit and we got a little lucky too. We got a few bounces, but we earned those bounces. Our top line came through again for us. Our defense was much better tonight and didn't drop any bombs. Mercyhurst is a team that is opportunistic and if, you make a mistake, they can score quickly. Their goalie was very good and Truehl was very good as well. He came up big when we needed him. We need to keep moving forward as we have a tough test next weekend at Canisius."
Air Force travels to Buffalo, N.Y., next week for a two-game league series against Canisius, Friday-Saturday, Feb. 14-15.