Dec. 5, 2008

Courtesy of Air Force

This Week
No. 10 Air Force (13-1-0 overall and 10-0-0 in the AHA) hosts a two-game Atlantic Hockey Association series with league rival RIT (5-8-1, 4-3-1 AHA), Friday-Saturday, Dec. 5-6, at 7:05 p.m. each night at the Cadet Ice Arena.

Toy Trick
For the ninth consecutive year, the Air Force hockey team will help brighten the holiday season for area children. At the RIT series, Dec 5-6 (7:05 p.m. each night), fans can bring a new stuffed toy, wrapped in plastic, and when the Falcons score their first goal in each game, fans can throw the stuffed toy on the ice. All fans with a toy donation will receive admission for just $1. The toys need to be new and wrapped in plastic to protect them when they are thrown on the ice. The toy trick will be offered both nights. The toys will be collected and then distributed to children in local hospitals and clinics during the holiday season. In the first eight years of the Toy Trick, the team collected and distributed more than 4,600 toys.

Radio/Internet
Both games will be broadcast live in Colorado Springs on KCS AM 1300 and on the internet at www.GoAirForceFalcons.com. The pregame show begins 20 minutes prior to faceoff. Jay Ritchie will call the play-by-play while Dave Toller will provide the analysis. Both games will also be video streamed live with audio by the B2 Network on a subscription basis. For more information, please go to the Atlantic Hockey Association web-site at AtlanticHockeyOnline.com. No television.

Last Week
Air Force split with two of the top 10 teams in college hockey. AFA defeated No 3. Colorado College, 4-1 at home, then suffered its first loss of season, 4-1, at No. 9 Denver
RIT lost at No. 17 UMass.-Lowell (receiving votes), 6-3, on Nov. 29

Rankings
Air Force is ranked No. 10 in both the USCHO/CBS College Sports and the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls. The Falcons were also 10th in the InsideCollegeHockey.com power rankings. All three rankings are the highest in these polls in school history. RIT is unranked.

Inside the Rankings
Air Force's No. 10 national ranking is the highest ever by an Atlantic Hockey or MAAC team. The ranking is also the highest ever in these two polls by a team not from one of the "Big Four" conferences (WCHA, CCHA, ECAC and Hockey East). Niagara was No. 11 in both polls late in the 1999-00 season.

More on the Rankings
Air Force is ranked No. 1 in both the KRACH and PairWise rankings for the first time in school history.
Both the KRACH and the PairWise rankings use sophisticated mathematical formulas based on a team's winning percentage and the strength of schedule. KRACH is endorsed by College Hockey News as the best system to objectively rank teams. The PairWise rankings are similar to the model used by the NCAA Selection Committee. Although the PWR does not precisely duplicate the method used by the committee, the PWR has exactly predicted the NCAA tournament entries in each of the last eight years.

The Coaches
Frank Serratore (Bemidji State, 1982) is in his 12th season as the head coach of Air Force. He has led the Falcons to back-to-back conference championships and NCAA berths. Serratore is the winningest coach in the history of Air Force hockey with a record of 183-202-30 and a career mark of 232-294-39 in his 16th year. Wayne Wilson is in his 10th season at RIT with a school and overall record of 170-84-23

Scouting the Opponents
RIT (Rochester, N.Y.) is 5-8-1 overall and 4-3-1 and tied for third in the AHA. The Tigers finished second in the league last season and fell to Air Force in the AHA semifinals. RIT has split each of its last two league series vs. Army and UConn. Last Saturday, RIT lost at No. 17 UMass-Lowell, 6-3. Junior defenseman Dan Ringwald leads the team with 12 assists and 13 points. Senior Brennan Sarazin leads the team with seven goals.

Last Season vs. RIT
Air Force and RIT met five times last season and Air Force won three of the meetings. Two of the games went into overtime. The teams split a two-game set at each site. AFA won 2-1 in overtime and lost 4-3 in Rochester in November. The teams split the series at the Academy in January as AFA won 5-2 and lost 4-3 in overtime. In the AHA Tournament semifinal game, AFA won, 5-0, to advance to the AHA championship game and eventually the NCAA Tournament.

Series Records
RIT and Air Force have played 18 times and each team has won eight games while two games have ended in ties. In games played at Air Force, the Falcons hold a 5-4-2 advantage. As AHA foes, the teams have played nine times and each team has won four with one tie. In the nine games as AHA rivals, three have gone into overtime and five have been decided by one goal.

Conference Streaks Among Longest in NCAA History
Air Force's current 11-game conference winning streak (dating back to last season) ties as the 11th longest in NCAA history. RPI holds the NCAA record for the longest conference winning streak (ECAC) at 25 games from Nov. 17-1984-Nov. 15, 1985. AFA's current 15-game conference unbeaten streak ties as the seventh longest in NCAA history. Maine holds the NCAA record with a 34-game conference unbeaten streak (Hockey East) from Jan. 25, 1992-Feb. 13, 1993. The 15-game conference unbeaten streak dates back to a 3-1 loss at Mercyhurst, Feb. 8, 2008.

Home Streaks
Air Force is riding a couple of impressive home streaks. The Falcons are currently on a nine-game home winning streak dating back to a 2-2 overtime tie with AIC, Feb. 29, 2008. The streak is the longest in school history vs. Division I teams. The school record home winning streak vs. teams from all divisions is 13 set in 1974-75. AFA is currently on an 13-game unbeaten streak at home dating back to a 4-3 overtime loss to RIT, Jan. 12, 2008. The streak started with a 5-2 win over No. 4 Denver, Jan. 18. The last time Air Force lost a home game in regulation has been more than one year ago, a 5-3 loss to Mercyhurst, Nov. 2, 2007 (a streak of 23 games).

Nation's Top Scoring Team
Air Force is the top scoring team in the nation, averaging 4.79 goals per game. Air Force has scored three or more goals in 12 of the 14 games and has scored five or more in six of the 14. Notre Dame is second in the nation with 3.87 goals per game. Air Force's scoring margin (+3.36 goals per game) is more than one goal per game better than Notre Dame's +2.07, which ranks second in the nation.