October 19, 2013 Updated: October 19, 2013 at 10:50 pm
Frank Serratore called senior goalie Jason Torf "great" Friday following Air Force's win .
So what did the 17-year coach call his goaltender following a dominant 33-save performance in Saturday's 3-1 victory over Penn State at Cadet Ice Arena?
"He was fabulous when he needed to be," Serratore said. "Fortunately, we got a shorty (short-handed goal) in the third period to get the lead, but Jason Torf got us there."
Torf kept Air Force (2-2) in the game as Penn State (1-2) controlled play through two periods before George Michalke III broke a scoreless tie with 13:16 remaining off a hustle-play by Ryan Timar on the penalty kill. Timar poke-checked the puck out of the Air Force zone, sprinted down the left side and was able to win a battle before feeding the puck to a wide open Michalke for the go-ahead goal.
"I had to lay out to get a good stick on it," Timar said. "I then realized I had a chance to win the race there, and I did, and we got the goal out of it. Thank god George was going to the net hard."
Michalke had just stepped on the ice when he noticed Timar.
"He took the hit and was still able to make the pass in front," Michalke said. "It was a pretty easy goal for me. It was just a hell of a play by Timar. It was all him."
Cole Gunner extended Air Force's lead to 2-0 when he blasted home a one-timer past Penn State goalie Matthew Skoff (32 saves) with 10:23 remaining. Michalke III made it 3-0 on a rebound a little over seven minutes later and Penn State got on the board when Ricky DeRosa scored with 2:46 left.
For the second consecutive night Torf passed a former Air Force goalie on the school's all-time career saves list, this time Pat Kielb (2,296) for seventh.
Air Force was 4-for-4 on the kill, thanks to a series of blocked shots. Air Force also held Penn State without a shot in the third period until the 11-minute mark.
"We had five or six guys take missiles," Serratore said of his players sacrificing their bodies to stop the puck. "Talking about all of the great saves Torf made, but how many didn't get to him because we took the missiles? This was a great team win."
One of Torf's best saves came with 10:22 remaining in the second period when the senior lunged out of the crease and dove to his right to swallow a Michael McDonagh shot from the right side.
"Every goaltender's intuition is if you are in a bad spot you do whatever you can do to get that save," Torf said. "You throw the rulebook out the window. I was just trying to keep up with him and he was getting a little bit ahead of me, and I kind of laid out in desperation."