A veteran Air Force Academy hockey team will be in good hands this season, entrusting four seniors with wearing letters.
The quartet of captain Dylan Abood, and assistants Erik Baskin, Phil Boje and Tyler Ledford will lead a Falcons team that hopes to build upon a trip to the NCAA Tournament’s final eight with the program’s first Frozen Four berth next April.
“We have zero issues with these guys. This leadership group is as strong, or stronger, than we’ve ever had,” Air Force coach Frank Serratore said. “These guys are terrific leaders. They lead by example, they’re all quality, character guys. They understand a team-first mentality.”
Abood served as co-captain of the Falcons last season with graduated Johnny Hrabovsky, who was his defense partner when both were healthy. Abood won three of the team’s eight season-ending awards, including the Vic Heyliger Award, the Iron Bolt Award and the Jim Bowman Award (with Hrabovsky).
Abood was one of only three Falcons juniors ever to win the Heyliger – which is voted on by teammates and goes to the player they deem demonstrates the most dedication, character, leadership and work ethic. The Iron Bolt goes to the Falcons’ weight-room warrior, something essential to the 5-foot-8 Abood’s game. The Bowman goes to the team’s top scholar-athlete.
Abood, who grew up in Colorado, typically is among the Falcons’ leaders in plus-minus and blocked shots.
Get to know Abood better through our one-timers with him.
The 6-3 Baskin is a steadying presence off the ice, and a consistent scorer on it. The Minnesota native had 23 points last season, which is just about his career average at the Academy. A wing, Baskin has scored between 19 and 24 points and had between 10 and 12 goals in each of his three seasons.
Get to know Baskin better through our one-timers with him.
Boje emerged as a force on the blue line last season, and Atlantic Hockey took note, recognizing him as first-team All-AHC. His 30 points not only led AFA blue liners, but were one of the top numbers among all NCAA defensemen last season. He took the most shots on the team (109), and that’s not a bad thing when one considers he has one of the hardest shots, if not the hardest shot, on the team. His point totals have gone from nine to 15 to 30 in his first three seasons.
But there is more to the 5-11 blue liner’s game than offense. The Minnesota native also was honored as Air Force’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2016-17, an award voted on by the coaching staff. In addition, he made the NCAA East Regional all-tournament team.
Get to know Boje better through our one-timers with him.
Ledford’s calling card is his fantastic stick handling ability, and that has translated to plenty of helpers for his teammates. The
5-9 Colorado Springs native has 16, 20 and 15 assists in his first three seasons. He and Baskin shared the John Matchefts Award as the Falcons’ freshman of the year in 2015.
Get to know Ledford better through our one-timers with him.
The four also get it done off the ice.
All four were among the school-record 15 Falcons who were selected to AHC all-academic team. It was the third selection for Abood (electrical engineering major) and Baskin (economics) and the second for Ledford (management). Abood and rising junior Kyle Haak also were selected to the first-team of the CoSIDA Academic All-District Men’s At-Large Team.