Right now, Lady Luck is on the Air Force Academy Falcons’ side, as evidenced by an 8-2 victory over the Bentley College Falcons Saturday night at Cadet Ice Arena, sealing the weekend sweep.
The win also puts Air Force at 8-0 on the season, tying the 1971-72 squad for the best start in school history. The 8-0 start against all Division-I opponents, however, is the best in school history.
“We’re looking at this like we’re in Las Vegas and we’re rolling sevens right now,” said Air Force Coach Frank Serratore. “We’re having fun with it rather than letting the pressure build. Rather than ‘Oh god, we can’t lose,’ our attitude is more, ‘Let’s go see if we can get another one.'”
Air Force started off the scoring about halfway through the first period. Jeff Hajner picked up a Matt Fairchild rebound to the left of Bentley goaltender Joe Calvi and made a nifty little pass back to Derrick Burnett, who shot the puck into a virtually open net.
The Falcons then went up 2-0 with 1:12 left in the opening frame on a Jacques Lamoureux power-play goal. Brad Sellers kept in a Bentley clearing attempt and passed the puck across the top of the zone to Greg Flynn, who sent a high wrist shot on net that Lamoureux tipped down past Calvi.
Air Force continued its offensive outburst in the second, scoring four goals in the frame. Mike Philippich kicked off the scoring just 43 seconds into the period with a power-play wrister past Calvi.
About four minutes later, freshman Paul Weisgarber picked up a Greg Burgdoerfer rebound and jammed it home past Calvi to make it 4-0 Air Force.
A minute and a half later, Bentley got on the board when Erik Peterson tipped a rebound to Aaron Stonacek, who slammed the puck past Air Force netminder Andrew Volkening to cut the lead to 4-1.
Air Force didn’t let the tally distract them from their final goal, however, as they took back their four-goal lead at the 10:20 mark of the second when Josh Frider shot the puck top shelf past Calvi, popping the water bottle off the top of the net.
Lamoureux rounded out the second period scoring with 5:10 remaining in the frame on his second power-play goal of the night when he took a Brent Olson pass in the high slot and wristed it over Calvi’s right shoulder.
“Jacques was a great acquisition,” Serratore quipped about his sophomore transfer from Northern Michigan. “And then you’ve got to credit our seniors. It’s probably the best senior class we’ve ever had and there’s no baggage in that senior class,” he said, referencing senior forwards Frider, Olson and Phillipich as well as seniors Flynn and Michael Mayra.
Bentley got another goal 7:12 into the third period to make it, at that point, a 6-2 game when Marc Menzione tipped a Ryan Kayfes shot from the point past Volkening, but by that point, it was much too little way too late, especially when Air Force scored two more to round out the period.
Sean Bertsch made it a 7-2 game with 7:18 remaining when he knocked in his own rebound past Calvi. The goal was a little special as it signified that, on the season, every single forward dressed for Air Force had scored a goal on the year.
“We don’t get NHL draft choices; we get good, second-level players that come in and overachieve and we need to have four line depth,” said Serratore. “We can’t be a top-heavy team.”
“Getting scoring from all four lines is huge for team confidence,” said Lamoureux. “It’s going to be huge down the road, too.”
Lamoureux finished the scoring with 2:41 remaining when he carried a pass from Olson down to the goal line to the right of Calvi and fired a tough-angle shot top corner on Calvi for the hat trick, a hat trick the crowd of 2,159 must not have noticed, as not a single hat hit the ice afterward.
“If I was sitting in the stands and someone scored a hat trick, I wouldn’t throw my favorite hat,” Lamoureux quipped. His four points total gave him a nation-leading 19 on the season.
“The biggest thing is that we’re winning,” he said. “If I were doing this and we weren’t winning, it wouldn’t feel as good.”
“Our mantra’s kind of been a little bit, somebody’s going to eventually get us,” said Serratore. “Somebody’s eventually going to get us, but it doesn’t have to be tonight.”