Falcons hockey team breaks through against Mercyhurst

By: BENN FARRELL sports@gazette.com
February 8, 2014 Updated: February 9, 2014 at 1:45 am
photo - Scott Holm's line scored both of Air Force's goals in the Falcons' win over Mercyhurst on Saturday. (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett)
Scott Holm's line scored both of Air Force's goals in the Falcons' win over Mercyhurst on Saturday. (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett) 

It took 58 minutes of playoff-style hockey and two minutes of dominance for Air Force to move up in the Atlantic Hockey Association standings.

The Falcons (17-9-4, 12-6-3 AHA) swept their home series against Mercyhurst (15-12-5, 13-4-4) with a 2-0 win Saturday at Cadet Ice Arena.

With no goal after almost 59 minutes, it was Air Force's Chad Demers, Cole Gunner, Scott Holm forward line that put away the No. 1 team in the conference. That line scored six of the Falcons' seven goals from the series.

Finally, the Falcons were able to put something together after 38 shots on goal with 1 minute, 30 seconds remaining in regulation. The Demers-Gunner-Holm line went on a shooting spree against Tibbett, two shots of which were even deflected off the crossbar.

However, it was Demers, assisted by Gunner, who stuffed in a low wrister to the junior goalie's stick side for a 1-0 lead.

"We finally we able to get those rebounds and get a guy alone in front, completed the pass and scored the goal," Demers said.

A minute later, Air Force scoring leader Gunner, a junior wing, scored the insurance goal on an empty-netter, helping put a 2-0 victory in the books.

"We knew we were playing too well to lose this game," Demers, a junior center, said. "We were playing the type of hockey we wanted to play."

Air Force freshman goalie Chris Truehl, who has started the past 10 games, is 8-2 on the season. The two-time AHA rookie of the week finished with 24 saves. Tibbett had 38 saves. The Falcons outshot Mercyhurst 40-24.

"In February, it's the time of year when you want to hit your stride," Demers said. "That was the kind of game you have to win in the playoffs, and that's the biggest thing, getting our momentum going."

Junior defenseman Dan Weissenhofer and Holm, a junior wing, were credited with assists on the open-net goal. Demers' goal was his second game-winner and 13th overall of the season. Gunner's goal was his 14th this season.

The Falcons were in a tie for fourth in conference standings coming into the weekend. Friday's win over the Lakers allowed them to stand alone at fourth. After Saturday's game, Air Force came out in a third-place tie with UConn.

"In those types of games, you worry about beating yourself. If you give a team like that the opportunity, they are going to score," AFA coach Frank Serratore said.

The star of the first period was the Falcons' penalty killdenying three Mercyhurst power plays after five minutes, including a 5-on-3.

In the end, the Falcons' four-line attack started to wear down the Lakers.

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