Pioneers Shut Out at Air Force

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Sacred Heart men's hockey team was held to 18 shots on goal Saturday night as Air Force blanked the Pioneers 4-0 at Cadet Ice Arena. The Falcons swept the weekend series as Sacred Heart lost its sixth game out of its last seven.

Both Sacred Heart (6-18-0, 5-12-0 AHA) and Air Force (14-6-4, 9-3-3 AHA) had three shots in the first four minutes. The Pioneers almost got on the board two minutes into the game as Mitch Nylen (Lawrenceville, Ga.) fired a shot that was saved by Falcons goalie Chris Truehl. Neil Fachini (East Hampton, Conn.) pounced on the rebound but Truehl saved that as well. Air Force controlled the rest of the period after the initial four minutes.

At one point in the period, the Falcons outshot Sacred Heart 11-4. However, Pioneers goaltender Alex Vazzano (Trumbull, Conn.) did his part to keep the game scoreless. Sacred Heart went on the power play with 5:40 remaining in the first period but didn't generate a shot on goal. Air Force finally got on the scoreboard with four seconds remaining in the period, as Cole Gunner scored off of a Chad Demers rebound to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead after the first period.

Air Force went on the power play less than two minutes into the second period. The Pioneers held the Falcons to one shot, with Ben Lake (Calgary, Alb.) creating a shorthanded opportunity that was stopped by Truehl. The Falcons took a 2-0 lead with 14:56 remaining in the period when Ryan Dau tipped in a Mike McDonald shot past Vazzano.

Sacred Heart had its second power play of the game at the 11:16 mark of the second, but Evan Jasper (Whitby, Ont.) had the only shot during the man advantage as the score remained 2-0. Air Force extended the lead to 3-0 when with 6:31 left in the second when Dan Weissenhofer put a shot right between Vazzano's legs and into the goal. The Falcons outshot Sacred Heart 14-5 in the second period to take a 3-0 lead into the third period. Jason Fabian tacked on a power play goal for Air Force in the third period to make the final score 4-0.

Air Force outshot Sacred Heart 37-18 for the game, going 1-for-5 on the power play. The Pioneers were 0-for-3 on the power play. Jordan Minello (Sweaburg, Ont.) led Sacred Heart with five shots. Vazzano made 28 saves for the Pioneers as Truehl had 18 stops for the shutout.

The Pioneers open a two-game series with Niagara on Friday, Jan. 31 at 7:05 p.m. at Milford Ice Pavilion.