April 18, 2012
Colorado College and Air Force Academy will begin a home-and-home series, doubling the fun for college hockey fans in Colorado Springs.
“Ultimately,” said CC coach Scott Owens, “it’s going to happen, and I’m fine with it. There are too many positives.”
This is good news for Air Force coach Frank Serratore, who has been pushing to multiply the Falcons' rivalry with the Tigers.
“We can do it next year if he wants,” Serratore said.
Sadly, the home-and-home is not scheduled to begin until the 2014-2015 season. Owens said CC’s schedule is already filled for the next two seasons, which means the Falcons and Tigers will meet only once (Oct. 19 at Air Force) in 2012-2013 and once in 2013-2014.
In my view, increasing the rivalry from one game per season to two games is only positive. In the past four seasons, the CC-Air Force series has transformed from boring repetition to thrilling drama.
CC had defeated the Falcons 27 straight times when the Tigers skated into Cadet Arena in November 2008. The Tigers trashing the Falcons was one of those things in life you could always count on, kind of like your mother’s love.
Air Force demolished CC that night, 4-1, in an utterly dominating performance. The victory began a party for Air Force fans. The victory also served as an announcement: This rivalry might not be dead even, but it’s close.
And that’s great news. The Springs now is blessed with one of college hockey’s finest intracity rivalries. The hockey battle between CC and Air Force is now one of our best sports nights of the year.
Strangely, not everyone is happy. I hear, quite often, from CC fans who dismiss the Falcons. They’re stuck in the past, remembering the Tigers have won 37 of the past 40 games against Air Force. These fans don’t want the series to increase. They want it to end.
“Air Force hockey is a joke,” wrote CCFan on my blog. This is not an isolated comment. It’s typical.
This season, the Falcons again defeated the Tigers, but this time the victory came at World Arena. The loss ignited an avalanche of Air Force dismissals from CC fans. This makes no sense, I know. I’ve always believed the most important tense is the present.
“It’s arrogant for anybody to think it’s below Colorado College hockey to lose to Air Force right now,” he said. “It’s arrogant and it’s ignorant. Use whatever words you want to use – arrogant, ignorant, naïve – whatever.
“People have got to accept that we have a pretty good hockey team.”
I agree with Serratore, and wonder about the insecurity of CC fans who go to great extremes to insult Air Force’s hockey team.
Yes, the Falcons play in the less-than-mighty Atlantic Hockey Association, but Air Force has competed with strength and dignity in the NCAA Tournament. The Falcons have lost by one goal four times in the past six seasons to the No. 1 seed before losing 2-0 this season to No. 1 seed Boston College.
And even that 2-0 loss is deceptively impressive. BC’s Eagles defeated their other three NCAA Tournament opponents by a combined 14-2.
Air Force has a legit hockey program. This truth should do nothing but thrill Colorado College hockey fans. If grumpy CC loyalists don’t want to join the party, that’s fine. We’ll enjoy the thrills while you sulk in the corner.
The CC-Air Force series is thriving and soon – if not soon enough – it will be multiplying.