Updated: January 25, 2011 at 12:00 am
1. Get an early lead
Air Force (10-9-4, 8-5-4 Atlantic Hockey Association) has a 7-5-1 record if it scores the opening goal this season. It’s no coincidence that the Falcons are 3-4-3 when they fall behind. While it has made for some memorable comebacks, Air Force isn’t good enough to battle back every game. Few teams are and it hosts a Canisius (8-11-5, 7-6-4 AHA) squad fresh off a sweep of American International.
“If you’re going to win consistently, you have to play from the front end,” coach Frank Serratore said. “The way we won Friday (a 2-0 lead in a 2-1 win at Connecticut) has to be the way we do it most of the time. Don’t make it harder than necessary.”
2. Contain Canisius’ top scorers
Golden Griffins senior Vincent Scarsella recorded three goals and three assists while Cory Conacher had four goals in the AIC series. Both are capable of taking the game over if the Falcons don’t keep track of them in the defensive zone.
3. Win the special teams battle
Canisius has the No. 17 penalty kill (94.7 percent) in Division 1 taking on Air Force’s No. 9 power play (22 percent). The Falcons, the fourth-best team in avoiding penalties (9.3 minutes), need to stay disciplined with its 54th-ranked PK (75.6 percent). The Golden Griffins score at a 16.9 percent clip with the man advantage.