Frank Serratore is the best speaker amongst college hockey's head coaching fraternity. Have I heard all of them? Nope. But it's impossible for any other coach in Division 1 to begin to approach the level of hilarity that Frank will put on a crowd at a luncheon or other gathering of fans. All credit to Coach Thomas for his speaking style i.e… giving more information than one can begin to process. But he's no Frank Serratore. If the Falcons win/loss record was proportional to the laughs Frank gets then Air Force would be national champs every season.
Air Force hasn't beaten UAA in a long time. Since 2005 the Seawolves have faced Air Force 4 times. All four games have been in Alaska and all four games have gone to UAA. None of that matters this weekend of course. It might serve as some motivation for the Air Force players; trying to break a losing streak can help a squad play better I suppose. The level of experience on the team is a bit of a mixed bag with 7 seniors and 3 juniors; then 4 sophomores and 10 freshman. As Kory Roy might say; a little from column A, a little from column B.
Atlantic Hockey preseason polling pegged Mercyhurst as the team to beat (they won that league last year) with Air Force finishing 3rd. The two teams split last weekend at the Academy in one of my all-time favorite cities to write about; The Springs!
The first threat to mention for the Falcons is #22 senior Cole Gunner from Richfield, Minnesota. Cole had 15 goals and 29 assists for AF last season and in the opening 2 games this year against Mercyhurst, he netted 2 and got 2 helpers. He's 5ft, 9in and 180lbs. I expect him to be quick. It's a great hockey name anyway. Not too many "gunners" these days in the Air Force I'd think. Maybe he shoulda joined the Army?
Last year's second leading scorer for the Falcons is back; #17 senior Chad Demers from Grafton, North Dakota also scored 15 goals last year with 26 assists. He's 5ft, 11in and 181lbs. I expect him to be quick as well. Chad had two assists last weekend against Mercyhurst.
The 3rd threat and last years 3rd leading scorer for the Falcon's is #19 senior Scott Holm from Plymouth, Minnesota. Scott's pretty big at 6ft, 2in and 190lbs. He scored 11 goals with 18 assists last season. He's not quite the size where one would expect him to be a power forward like Brett Cameron.
Those three guys comprise AF's 1st line. Gunner on the right, Demers centering and Holm on the left. They have a wealth of experience playing together. Air Force isn't going to be a one trick pony though this weekend.
Sophomore forward #24 A.J. Reid bagged a couple of power play goals last weekend and had 5 goals and 5 assists as a freshman. He's from Lakeville, Minnesota and goes 5ft, 10in 194lbs. Senior D-man #40 Alex Halloran led the blueline crew in scoring last season with 4 goals and 14 assists. He's 5ft, 9in 180lbs.
The Falcons are about the same size overall as the Seawolves and overall just a little bit older. Like all Serratore's squads from The Springs they'll be hard working from the drop of the puck til the last tenth of a second in each period. The Seawolves will again require a good game to defeat these guys. I know it's early in the season but they went 3 for 7 on power plays last weekend so they've got something figured out. Our guys had best stay out of the box and if they aren't able to do so, they'll need more of that excellent penalty killing we saw last weekend.
I'm not going to guess who'll play in the net for the Seawolves either night.