An already tough league-opening weekend got a good bit more difficult last Saturday.
That’s when starting Air Force goalie Jason Torf suffered a groin strain that is expected to keep him out of action indefinitely.
Air Force sports information director Dave Toller said Thursday that the injury will not require surgery and is not season-ending.
Now, the 0-2 Falcons, who showed some moxie against North Dakota and Michigan State, will have to show even more grit when they host Niagara and Robert Morris, which are both expected to contend for home playoff ice in the Atlantic Hockey Association.
Expected to start this weekend in Torf’s stead is, listed alphabetically, junior Stephen Caple and freshman Paul Morberg.
“We need to find out if we have another goalie who can step in for us,” coach Frank Serratore said.
Serratore would not say which netminder, who have a combined 14 game appearances, would start Friday against Niagara (0-1-1, 0-0-1 AHA). Niagara may start Colorado Springs native Cody Campbell, who was named as co-AHA goalie of the week for a scoreless tie against the Rochester Institute of Technology. His performance was key since the Purple Eagles have yet to score this season.
Regardless, Serratore expects both foes to be contenders this season.
“Niagara will find a way to contend,” Serratore said. “Robert Morris was picked sixth. That’s absurd. They’re a top-three team.”
The strength of the Falcons is a deep and experienced defensive corps. Seniors Tim Kirby and Scott Mathis lead that group with support from Adam McKenzie and Stephen Carew. The forwards look to be deep as well, paced by Kyle DeLaurell, Cole Gunner, Casey Kleisinger and Paul Weisgarber. Kleisinger’s two goals lead the Falcons.
Air Force hosts Robert Morris (1-1, 0-0 AHA) at 5:05 p.m. Sunday. The Colonials are paced by seniors Trevor Lewis and Adam Brace, each with a goal and assist headed into their league opener in Colorado Springs.
Contact Joe Paisley: 636-0260