How do you want your goals?
Air Force is fine with any way, as it proved Saturday night at World Arena, where it defeated Colorado College, 6-3.
The Falcons (7-5-2) scored shorthanded, on the power play, at even strength and into an empty net. The first goal, defenseman Matt Koch‘s shortie, might have been the biggest as it evened the score in a game the Tigers (3-9) had largely controlled to that point.
“Things were going in their favor at that point. They were on the power play,” Falcons coach Frank Serratore said.
That sparked Air Force, who subsequently got an even-strength goal from Jordan Himley – the first of his two – and a power-play strike from defenseman Kyle Mackey to lead 3-1 at the first intermission.
Evan Giesler extended the lead to 4-1 at 5:59 of the second, then gave the Falcons some breathing room after the Tigers pulled within one on goals by Mason Bergh and Westin Michaud (his second of the night). Giesler’s second goal, with 8:o5 left in the third made it 5-3. Himley’s empty-netter accounted for the final margin and was his team-high seventh of the season.
“Giesler’s fifth goal relieved a lot of pressure,” Serratore said.
Shane Starrett, who had not played since the first period last Friday, returned to the net and made 30 saves for Air Force, which was outshot, 33-23.
“The biggest contrast for the teams was in goal. They were playing their backup,” Serratore said. “Shane was back to Shane’s old self, making a lot of saves.”
The victory was the first for the Falcons after a tie and loss at No. 18 Western Michigan and a loss to No. 2 Denver on Friday.
“We’d been winless in three and they’ve been struggling a bit,” Serratore said. “This was a game that was going to be potentially a turning point for one team this season. Whichever team got this game got their feet under them again.
“It’s a feel-good game, it’s big rivalry. I hope we can look at this game as a turning point for us moving forward and playing with more consistency.”
Very special teams
Not only did the Falcons score while killing a penalty and on one of their just two power plays, but they kept Colorado College’s PP off the board. Air Force killed all seven Tigers chances.
Mackey’s power-play goal was the Falcons’ third of the weekend with the extra man. He had the primary assist on Erik Baskin‘s PPG on Friday, and fellow defenseman Phil Boje had a power-play strike as well Friday. Boje had two helpers Saturday and Mackey added one.
Evan Feno, who set up Koch’s goal, had two assists, as did Tyler Rostenkowski, whose shot Giesler re-directed to make it 5-3. … The Falcons travel to Holy Cross next weekend. The Crusaders (5-5-2) lost to Yale, 3-1, on Saturday night.