Air Force coach Frank Serratore and wants to create a home-ice advantage at Cadet Ice Arena.
Air Force's junior top-line trio of Scott Holm, Chad Demers and Cole Gunner took the first stab at that goal by erupting for three goals and five assists to kick-start the Falcons four-game home stand Friday with a 5-2 victory over Penn State.
"We have had really good teams here over the last seven years, but I think only 2009 we were dominating at home," Serratore said. "One of the things we talked about was creating a home ice advantage, and we will see how we come out tomorrow."
A week after going 0-for-12 on the power play, Holm ended the power-play drought by scoring 16 seconds into Air Force's first opportunity with the man advantage when he scored on a scramble in front to give the Falcons (1-2) a 1-0 lead against the Big Ten foe.
"We struggled a bit last week so we knew we needed to come out with a lot of intensity and some heart," Holm said. "We put pressure on ourselves. We want to be the go-to line. We were able to bring that intensity and put some pucks home."
Then 1:10 later, the Falcons struck again when Ben Carey made a crisp cross-ice pass from the right side to Tony Thomas, who sniped his first of two goals through the legs of Eamon McAdam - a 2013 third-round pick of the New York Islanders making his collegiate debut - to give the Falcons a 2-0 lead 5:56 into the game.
Penn State (1-1) scored when Eric Sheid slammed a rebound past Air Force goalie Jason Torf to make it 2-1 with 11:04 remaining in the first period.
It was one of the only blemishes by Torf, who made 13 of his 26 saves in the second period as the Falcons opened up a 4-1 lead following goals from Chad Demers and Cole Gunner.
"That game was a lot more evenly played then the score indicated," Serratore said. "The difference in the game was Jason Torf."
Torf said it "means the world" to start off the Falcons' homestand with a win.
Torf, who also allowed a power-play goal to Luke Juha late in the third, passed former Falcons goalie Mike Polidor (2,255) for eighth on the school's career saves list.
"It's one of those things I'm trying not to keep track of as I go," Torf said. "I rather see how I am at the end. But it was nice to get an achievement on a night where I thought I played well."
The senior goalie hopes Friday's offensive outburst, Air Force outshot Penn State 32-28, is a sign of things to come come for the Falcons after scoring only three goals in two losses last weekend.
"Absolutely, tomorrow is going to be a huge game for us," Torf said. "What do we do tomorrow? Do we take a step forward even more? You certainly don't want to take any steps back."