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Rapid reaction: Air Force shuts out Army to reach Atlantic Hockey final

March 17, 2017 Updated: March 18, 2017 at 10:21 am
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Rapid Reaction

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Air Force goalie Shane Starrett made 29 saves, 12 in the third period, as the Falcons held on for a 1-0 win over Army in the Atlantic Hockey Conference semifinals.

The win sends the 25-9-5 Falcons into the title game against fourth-seeded Robert Morris, which ended regular-season champion Canisius’ season with a 6-2 win behind three goals for AHC leading scorer Brady Ferguson.

Air Force attacked the Army defense with more vigor and it paid off midway through the second period with the only goal. Senior defenseman Johnny Hrabovsky collected a pass from Eva Giesler and sent in a low shot that caromed off Gahagen’s legs pad right to a charging Ben Kucera.

The forward one-timed the rebound over Gahagen’s shoulder to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead with 8:57 left in the second.

Second period report

Air Force attacked the Army defense with more vigor and it paid off midway through the second period with the opening goal. Senior defenseman Johnny Hrabovsky collected a pass from Eva Giesler and sent in a low shot that caromed off Army goalie Parker Gahagen’s legs pad right to a charging Ben Kucera.

The forward one-timed the rebound over Gahagen’s shoulder to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead with 8:57 left.

Air Force’s Kyle Haak nearly made it 2-0 about a minute later when his low shot clanged off the near post and away.

It was the second Falcons shot to find iron in the game after AFA defenseman Phil Boje came inches away from opening the scoring when his slap shot from the point clanged off the right net post and bounced away with 10:46 left in the first period.

The Falcons flirted with the breakthrough goal early with a strong, sustained effort in the second period. The first Grade A scoring chance came 49 seconds in when a scramble in front with Gahagen somehow keeping the puck out

Later, the referees used a play stoppage to review a shot that nearly crossed the goal line but the video proved inconclusive, keeping it scoreless.

First period report

It was an evenly played, scoreless first period between the service academies with  both recording seven shots on goal.

Air Force defenseman Phil Boje came inches away from opening the scoring when his slap shot from the point clanged off the right net post and away with 10:46 left in the first period.

Pregame report

The biggest question of the night was answered shortly after Army’s morning skate on Friday when it was announced that senior Parker Gahagen would start for the Black Knights in tonight’s Atlantic Hockey Conference semifinal at the Blue Cross Arena in downtown Rochester, NY.

The winner of the late semifinal will face No. 4 seed Robert Morris, which ended top-seeded Canisius’ 17-game unbeaten streak with a 6-2 upset in the opener. AHC leading scorer Brady Ferguson recorded a hat trick to propel the Colonials.

LINES

Army (19-13-5)

Evancho-Pham-Andrle

Fidler-Soucie-Franco

Maruya-Wilson-Mansfield

Reuschlein-Higgins-McGuire

LD-RD

Nick-Preston

DeCenzo-Box

Wilkinson-Shecter

Goalies – Gahagen-Bruns-Penta

No. 17 Air Force (24-9-5)

Serratore-Haak-Reid

Giesler-Feno-Kucera

Himley-Ledford-Baskin

Pluemer-Tomlak-Rostenkowski

LD-RD

Koch-Mackey

Boje-Bailey

Hrabovsky-Abood

Goalies – Starrett-Christopoulos-Wartick

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