Air Force will resume Atlantic Hockey Association play this weekend at American International College missing its most important player, senior goalie Jason Torf, and a valuable center in sophomore Ben Carey.
Falcons coach Frank Serratore said both will not play. Torf suffered a groin injury late in Monday's 3-2 upset win over No. 4 Providence in the championship of the 25th annual Ledyard Bank Classic in Hanover, N.H.
Serratore said the severity of Torf's injury will not be known until the team returns to Colorado Springs and the senior undergoes an MRI.
"Hopefully it will not be season ending," Serratore said. "He's our best player. He's our backbone."
Carey suffered a dislocated shoulder when he was driven into the boards by a Friar during the second period. The team stayed in the Boston area as planned after the two tournament games.
The Falcons (9-5-4, 4-2-3 AHA) are coming off their two biggest regular-season wins in a row, beating then-No. 16 Northeastern 5-2 on Sunday.
Now, Air Force must rally around backup netminders Paul Moberg, a junior, and Chris Truehl, a freshman. Moberg has more experience with two appearances totaling 20 minutes as a rookie (0-1, 6.04 goals against, .750 saves) and no ice time as a sophomore.
The junior from Forest Lake, Minn., has 7.25 goals and .615 saves marks in 41:24 this season compared to Truehl (1.98, .909, 30:22) of Stoughton, Wis. Both are 0-0 in two relief appearances this year.
"It's the only card we have to play," Serratore said.
Third-place Air Force was not about to overlook AIC (3-12, 3-6) anyway. The Yellow Jackets, who are tied with Army and Robert Morris for 10th place in the 12-team AHA, have the league's No. 2 power play (28.1 percent, 9 for 32). That unit is led by junior Alexander MacMillan's four goals. He leads AIC with 14 points (eight goals).
The Falcons may want to start out fast to give their goalie a cushion. Air Force has 11 goals in the opening 20 minutes in nine league games while AIC only has five. AFA will face three goalies with sub .890 saves percentages.
"They are a skilled team that is definitely a quality opponent," senior forward Tony Thomas said. "We will need to win the special teams battle."