Air Force tops No. 5 Providence to win tourney, but injuries make title bittersweet

By Joe Paisley Updated: December 31, 2013 at 8:16 am • Published: December 30, 2013 | 8:50 pm 0

A historic win for Air Force hockey may prove bittersweet after injuries to sophomore center Ben Carey (left shoulder dislocation) and senior goalie Jason Torf (groin).

Falcons senior Tony Thomas delivered a clutch third-period goal to spark the Falcons to a 3-2 upset win over No. 5 Providence in the championship game of the 25th annual Ledyard Bank Classic tournament Monday night in Hanover, N.H.

"I am really happy for our guys and couldn't be more proud of them," Falcons coach Frank Serratore said. "It is probably the biggest back-to-back wins in program history. Now we have to hope Ben Carey heals quickly and Jason is not hurt too seriously."

The slowed netminder made 17 of his 29 saves in the third period and finished the game against the Friars (13-3-3). Carey was hurt with 14:32 left in the second period.

Two straight wins over two top-20 teams - AFA beat No.?16 Northeastern 5-2 on Sunday - are the most in a row in program history.

Down 2-0 entering the third period, Providence drew within one on a goal by Steven Shamanski, before Thomas answered for a 3-1 lead with 7:39 remaining. The Friars trimmed the lead to 3-2 when Noel Acciari scored an extra-attacker goal with 30.5 seconds left.

Junior Cole Gunner and Torf made the all-tournament team while senior Mitch Torrel was named MVP.

The victory is Air Force's first over a top five-ranked team since a 2-1 win at No. 5 Colorado College in 2011. The Friars entered the game atop the Pairwise rankings, which mimic the NCAA selection process.

Air Force's Torrel scored an unassisted goal for a 2-0 lead with 7:19 left in the second period. The 9-5-4 Falcons took a 1-0 lead during the first period on a power-play goal by junior forward Chad Demers with 1:35 left.

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