SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (CBS4) — The Air Force Academy ice hockey team fell Saturday in the second round of the NCAA men’s ice hockey West Regional to the University of Minnesota-Duluth 2-1, ending the Falcons’ season.
Air Force never recovered from UMD’s first-period attack. The Falcons fell behind 2-0 as they were outshot 14-0.
The win propels Minnesota-Duluth to the NCAA Frozen Four in St. Paul, Minn., April 5-7. The national champion will be crowned there.
Defenseman Matt Koch scored for the Falcons midway through the second period. Koch drew a penalty on UMD, then collected a loose puck behind the goal during the power play and bounced it off the Bulldogs goalie.
But Air Force could not tie the game. The Falcons pulled their goalie with 1:42 remaining and produced four shots with the extra attacker. All of them, however, were blocked by UMD defensemen.
The teams were even on shots-on-goal over the final two stanzas.
“I could not be more proud of our team,” head coach Frank Serratore told goairforcefalcons.com. “Duluth came out and took us to the woodshed in the first period in a big-time way. We hadn’t seen speed like that all year. After they scored the second goal, we changed our fore-check and slowed them down a little. When it was all said and done, we turned the game. We just couldn’t find a way to get enough pucks through to the net and we ended up coming one goal short.”
The Falcon tallied a 23-15-5 record for the season. They defeated top-ranked St. Cloud State on Friday in the regional’s first-round.
No.11-ranked Minnesota-Duluth (21-16-3), faces the winner of Sunday’s Denver-Ohio State in two weeks.