No. 19 Air Force (19-8-5, 16-5-3 AHC) at RIT (12-18-1, 12-13 AHC)
When: Friday and Saturday, 5;05 MST
Radio: 1300 AM and GoAirForceFalcons.com
The Falcons are on another second-half roll, going 5-0-1 in their past six (sixth longest streak in the nation) and 12-2-2 since mid-December. They’re getting contributions from up and down the lineup, most recently from line combos Tyler Ledford and A.J. Reid, and Jordan Himley and Kyle Haak, and Evan Feno and Evan Giesler, as well as from all over the blue line. The Falcons have clinched a first-round bye and home ice for the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Hockey playoffs. They’re one point behind first-place Canisius but have a game in hand. The Tigers, picked to win the league, sit in sixth place and but are just four points out of a first-round bye, so this is a huge series for them as well. Not unlike Air Force, RIT has been decimated by injuries this season. Air Force swept RIT by identical 4-3 scores in November in a rough, physical series. You can bet coach Frank Serratore will remind his Cadets that the Tigers have ended the Falcons’ season each of the past two years.
Ledford has points in eight games in a row (4G-5A). … Defenseman Phil Boje, AHC’s defensive player of the week, has points in six consecutive (2G-5A). His 23 points are second most among AHC defenseman. … Leading scorer Jordan Himley has points in four straight (1G-7A). Himley has 15 goals and 27 points, putting him fifth and fourth, respectively, in those categories in AHC. … Reid has five goals in the past four games and 11 points in his past 14 games. … Erik Brown leads RIT with 15 goals and 25 points. Mike Rotolo (2.69 GAA and .899 save percentage) carries the mail in net.
It will be strength on strength when RIT’s power play (20.1 percent, 16th) faces Air Force’s penalty kill (88.6 percent, second). … The Falcons have risen to 13th in team defense (2.41 goals per game) and 14th in offense (3.22) – only Notre Dame at 11th in offense and eighth in defense is higher in both. The Falcons’ power play connects 18.5 percent of the time, which is 29th. … RIT is 33rd in offense (2.81), but tied for 36th in defense (3.03). … AFA goalie Shane Starrett is up to 13th in GAA (2.14) and save percentage (.922). His 18 wins are tied for second behind Bemidji State’s Michael Bitzer, who has played six more games. Bemidji is coached by Tom Serratore, Frank’s younger brother.