By David F.P. [Modest Image Gallery]
November 22, 2009
STORRS, CT- The Falcons of Air Force arrived in Connecticut to take on UConn for a two game series starting Friday. The Atlantic Hockey league teams from different sides of the country were each looking to come away with a victory, but they would each end up with a 2-2 tie to show for their efforts on Friday in front of a good crowd at Freitas. In net for Air Force was Andrew Volkening, and for Connecticut was Jeff Larson. Despite the tie, the shot totals were quite different as Air Force unleashed 51 on Larson and UConn put 24 on Volkening and each had 2 get by them.
In the first period the two teams went at it, Matt Miller was one of the shooters on goal, but Volkening stopped him. Connecticut picked up a penalty at the 2:04 mark when 28 was charged with boarding, but the Huskies were able to kill it off. Not many shots on goal were recorded early on, and UConn had their first power play at 5:02 when Paul Weisgarber was called with holding. All the same, Scott Kozlak managed a short handed attempt which Larson took care off, though the Falcons killed the penalty overall. About 7 minutes into the game, Connecticut had recorded just 1 shot, and the visitors 3.
Another UConn penalty was called on Tom Janosz at 8:30 for hooking putting the Falcons on the power play again, despite their efforts including those of Jeff Hajner, the Huskies killed the penalty. Air Force was soon killing a penalty of their own at 11:16 when Sean Bertsch was called for interference.
Connecticut’s Andrew Olson took advantage and scored a power play goal to the top right corner of the net assisted by Sean Ambrosie. At this point UConn had recorded only 2 shots on goal, and Air Force 9. Play continued until 15:03 when Jacques Lamoureux and Olinyk were both called for holding.
Air Force struck soon afterward at 15:53 when Hajner sent the puck past the the goalkeeper assisted by Derrick Burnett to tie the score at 1. AF24 and Kyle De Laurell got in on scoring opportunities after that but no scoring followed. At the end of the period Connecticut had 3 shots and Air Force 16.
Period 2 began in and Air Force was soon on the attack with Matt Fairchild passing it to Hajner who launched the puck at point blank range, but Larson saved it. The first penalty of the period came about when Brett Nylander was caught hooking at 2:18. Even down a man, Blake Page skated in on a short hand attack, but to no avail. Miller and C29 each tried to score for UConn but no points resulted from the power play.
Brandon Johnson tried to squeeze the puck through the screen of players in front of the net, but Larson stopped it as well, Matt Becker sent a puck at a wide angle with no success as well, and more opportunities followed for the service academy. Marcello Renallo and Olson responded with their own efforts, but Volkening took care of them. Another Air Force penalty came about at 7:22 when Mark Williams was called for hooking. Janosz shot but did not score, and other attacks followed. The penalty was closed to being over when Jim Gallagher was called for high sticking. Hajner used a light shot in, but Larson saved it as well, Lamoureux and Nylander added shots but Connecticut killed the penalty successfully.
Jeff Sapieha led a UConn breakaway but it did not result in points as did Becker and Weisgarber’s attempt to make it down the ice and score. UConn was called for a penalty at 12:00 and Alex Gerke went in the box for interference. At the play stoppage Connecticut had 10 shots and Air Force 27.
Page, Nylander, and Hajner were all part of the Air Force efforts to score but no points resulted form the penalty.
However at 16:07 Mike Coppola got called for a face mask and Air Force went on the power play again. After a shot wide by Tim Kirby earlier on Lamoureux managed to get it by Larson in the upper right corner of the net assisted by Burnett and Scott Mathis at 17:04.
Bertsch was called for a hit after the whistle penalty at 17:25 giving Connecticut a power play chance. The Huskies managed several chances with some close shaves but couldn’t score on Volkening. Bertsch let lose a shot towards the end of the period but Larson glove saved it. At the end of 2 Air Force led 2 to 1, and had 34 shots to Connecticut’s 13.
Period 3 began with the Huskies needing at least one goal to avert the loss. Kozlak went on the break away but his slap shot went wide. Gallagher went on the attack for the Huskies but his diving shot was saved by Volkening. A shot by Janosz was knocked by Volkening out of play as well. Weisgarber came up with an opportunity as well but to no avail. Each side kept up their efforts and Larson faced several more shots including at the hands of Mathis. Olinyk got called for cross checking at 6:54 placing the Huskies down a man, but Air Force’s attacks did not get by Larson. About 10 minutes into the period the Falcons had 43 shots to UConn’s 16.
Each side traded blows including an Air Force point blank attack which Larson stopped, and Justin Hernandez’s wrist shot was saved by Volkening. Sapieha fed Coppola with a pass in front of the keeper rand he got it right by Volkening for the goal at 13:32 to tie the game at 2. The period continued with no scoring and no penalties and at the horn Connecticut had 21 shots to Air Force’s 49.
The two teams went into overtime trying to break the tie. Connecticut attempted to beat Volkening but he prevented that. Hajner went on the breakaway but was not successful. Brad Cooper’s shot from center ice hit the goalie hard anyway and forced him to make a save, and UC14 and others added their own shots, as did Kozlak in response. The scoring attempts continued and Air Force called a time out with 1:10 left in the overtime, but it resulted in no points either. The game ended in a tie, the same amount of goals scored but a major difference in shots faced by the respective goalies.