Senior Greg Barber scored two goals while junior Connor James scored his team-leading 10th goal of the season and added two assists, as the No. 5 Denver Pioneers defeated the Air Force Falcons 7-0 Saturday.
The win is the 15th straight for Denver over the Falcons and extends the Pioneers’ unbeaten streak to seven games (5-0-2). Denver goaltender Adam Berkhoel made 19 saves in his second shutout this season and improved his record to 8-0-1.
“We built up our chances and were opportunistic around the net,” Pioneers coach George Gwozdecky said. “Without even saying it, you could tell we wanted to get the zero against Air Force and the shutout for Berkie.”
Junior Matt Laatsch had three assists, giving him his first career multi-point game and four assists in the past two games. Sophomore Jon Foster scored on a penalty shot and added an assist in the win.
Junior Max Bull scored the first goal of the game with just under four minutes left in the first period and then James scored while shorthanded with seven seconds left to give the Pioneers a 2-0 lead after a physical first period.
Barber scored his first goal of the night at 9:06 of the second period on the power play, pushing his point streak to seven games. Foster then gave Denver a 4-0 lead at 12:03 by scoring on a penalty shot, resulting from Falcons forward Seth Pelletier covering the puck in the goal crease.
Foster backhanded the puck past Falcons goaltender Mike Polidor, netting the Pioneers’ first goal on a penalty shot since Mark Rycroft scored in a 4-1 win at home over Nebraska-Omaha on Jan. 7, 2000.
The Pioneers allowed the Falcons just one shot in the second period, setting a new season low for shots by an opponent. Denver outshot Air Force 12-1 in the second and 47-19 for the game.
“We played as well as we could have in the first period and we were down two goals,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “I really felt bad for our guys. They played as hard as they could have. We played better tonight than we did on Friday, but we still lost 7-0.”
Sophomore Jussi Halme scored his first goal of the season at 8:13 of the third period. Barber and senior Kevin Doell then added goals within a 70-second span to seal the win for the Pioneers.
Air Force went 0-for-3 on the power play, while Denver was 1-for-4. Falcon goalie Mike Polidor made 40 saves.
Denver plays Colorado College next weekend, starting at home on Friday at 7:35 p.m. MT and then at CC Saturday at 7:05 p.m. MT.
Air Force returns home to host the fifth annual Radisson North Hockey Classic at the Cadet Ice Arena. Augsburg faces the Milwaukee School of Engineering Friday at 3:05 p.m. while Air Force hosts Wisconsin-Stout at 7 p.m. Following the tournament, the Falcons will be off until Dec. 28-39 at Fairfield.