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Gazette Premium Content Level of competition picks up for Falcons, goalie Chris Truehl

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By Joe Paisley Updated: January 23, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Air Force freshman goalie Chris Truehl did his job well in his first five games.

But now, he and the Falcons face a step up in Atlantic Hockey Association competition.

Truehl will need to be ready.

"He hasn't lost a game for us and there were a couple games that could have gotten away from us," coach Frank Serratore said. "But he hasn't proven he can win a game for us either. He will get his chance."

After traveling to surging Robert Morris this weekend, the third-place Falcons (14-6-4, 9-3-3 AHA) host fourth-place UConn and league-leading Mercyhurst.

"It will be a great opportunity for Chris to show that he has that No. 1 ingredient in him," Serratore said.

Junior defenseman Alex Halloran thinks Truehl (5-0, 1.45 goals against, .928 saves percentage) has it.

"He has just been super solid," Halloran said. "He has made some big saves but there is no doubt he will be facing tougher competition."

The Stoughton, Wis. native was thrown into the fray after senior goalie Jason Torf tore his right groin muscle Dec.?30.

"The first five games I was just trying to get used to the Division?I level," Truehl said. "I have not played my best yet. I think I will soon. I am excited to play the better teams in our league. I will be up to the challenge."

The Colonials (6-13-3, 6-6-3) are paced by junior Cody Wydo (23 points, 15 goals) and sophomore Zac Lynch (22, 10 goals). The improved play of left wing Matt Cope, center Greg Gibson and right wing Brandon Denham are a reason why the Colonials are tied for sixth after starting 2014 mired in the basement. That line recorded seven points (three goals) last weekend.

The Falcons are led by juniors Chad Demers (29, 10 goals) and Cole Gunner (28, 11 goals). Air Force sophomore Ben Carey (shoulder), junior Ben Persian (concussion) and Torf are out this week while junior George Michalke (illness) is expected back after missing last weekend.

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