AFA ARMY HOCKEY
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Air Force Academy's Evan Feno in action against Army's Michael Wilson during the Falcons’ 3-1 win over Army Friday, January 27, 2017 at the Air Force Academy. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

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You can’t say Evan Feno hasn’t been making the most of what he’s been given, trying as it may be.

The senior from Morrison has scored in bunches and leads all Air Force scorers headed into this weekend’s home series against Mercyhurst, the Falcons’ last before a long break.

“My teammates have been lifting me up and pushing me in places I was struggling in,” Feno said, crediting Air Force’s leadership with maintaining focus. “Things are going on the right track.”

Feno tore his ACL early in the 2017-18 season and missed the rest of it. He has experienced some “complications” and has been in and out of the lineup lately, missing the first game at Army and a three-game stretch that included a disastrous series at AIC.

But when he’s been in, he’s been a game-changer, scoring five goals in his past three games. He leads the conference in percentage with eight goals in just 10 games, and the team with 11 points. He’s scoring on just under a third of his shots.

“When you think about how he’s playing, on 1½ legs, what he did last weekend in RIT was — and I don’t throw these kinds of words around — heroic,” coach Frank Serratore said of Feno’s three-goal, one-assist effort.

The Falcons as a whole have followed the same pattern recently — when they’re on, they’re on.

“We’re either really bringing it or getting it handed to us,” Feno said. “We’re going with that mindset that we can’t take any days off. One day off will definitely lead to something catastrophic.”

The most recent and alarming example was when Air Force was blanked twice at AIC, which Serratore noted at this week’s press conference was the most thorough series beating the Falcons have endured in 12 years in the Atlantic Hockey Conference.

But the return of starting goaltender Billy Christopoulos from illness and surgery signaled another return to form. Mere weeks after having scopes put into his body to fix a suspected intestinal issue, Christopoulos made 31 saves and posted his first shutout of the season Saturday.

The Falcons swept RIT on the road.

“(Feno and Christopoulos) basically led us to the promised land last Saturday,” Serratore said. “If it was a playoff game, it would be legendary.”

In spite of this up-and-down play, the Falcons sit first in the AHC standings with an 8-6 record, a point ahead of three teams. The Falcons don’t play again until Dec. 29 and don’t play another conference game until Jan. 11, so this weekend series represents a last chance to pad that record before taking some time to get healthier.

“One of the things we wanted to do this year was be better at home,” Serratore said. “We’ve been a terrific road team, and we’ve been terrific this year. But we haven’t been dominant at home.”

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