NCAA HOCKEY
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Air Force Falcons forward Evan Giesler (15) celebrates his goal with forward Evan Feno (18) and forward Matt Serratore (12) and forward Kyle Haak (16) in the second period against the Denver Pioneers. The Denver Pioneers defeated the Air Force Falcons 4-1 in men's ice hockey on Friday, October 12, 2018 at Cadet Ice Arena. Photo by Isaiah J. Downing

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A fellow service academy can’t be relied upon to boost Air Force’s confidence, but that’s exactly what happened for the Falcons’ hockey team last weekend. The visitors never trailed in back-to-back 4-2 wins in West Point, N.Y.

Previously, overly reliant on their seniors for scoring — with 17 of 26 points (six goals, 11 assists) before the Army series, scoring well more than every other class combined — the Falcons’ junior class stepped up in a big way last weekend. Matt Pulver and Trevor Stone found the net, and coach Frank Serratore said Brady Tomlak (two goals, one assist) had his best series yet for Air Force.

Tomlak agreed it was his most complete weekend to date.

“I think I had a little bit of everything going last weekend,” he said. “I was good on the dot, found my way on the scoresheet a couple times.

“The physicality was there, which isn’t a huge part of my game. Frank gets on me lots to make sure I use my body a little more, bring more presence.”

The Falcons badly needed to course correct after a 2-4 start. Just their second first-period goal of the season, from Pulver, and a 2-of-3 showing on the power play keyed a win Friday.

Twenty-eight saves from Billy Christopoulos and a 34-24 edge in faceoffs didn’t hurt the next night.

“Not a great start for us, but obviously we took some steps this past weekend,” Tomlak said. “Just the support, the guys on the ice knowing where to be and jumping into spots, was good.

“If we can keep doing that, we’ll have success this weekend too.”

The Falcons will test this progress against Bentley (2-4-1, 2-2-1 Atlantic Hockey Conference) at Cadet Ice Arena. Serratore said the team isn’t dwelling on who’s on the other end of the ice.

“We can only focus on what we do,” he said.

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