The Falcons are lead by senior forward, ex-Hobey Baker finalist, and Northern Michigan departee in Jacques Lamoureux. The senior captain has led the Falcons in scoring in the two years he's been there, amassing 95 points in just two seasons in which he's gotten ice time. Having watched some of the Air Force games from these last few years, you can clearly tell that Jacques will be on the ice for at least half of the game. The key here is to obviously shut him down, which with the improved speed of our defense should reduce his scoring volume to nothing more than a quiet whimper.
The weak spot is their defense. With the Falcons losing their star goalie in Andrew Volkening, they will be relying on a junior goaltender in Stephen Caple, who has seen exactly 63 minutes of game time distributed across three games of his two year collegiate career. Now, in their exhibition game, head coach Frank Serratore elected to cycle all three of his goaltenders against Lethbridge, a Canadian team that just before this contest showed Denver a thing or two about hockey. Granted, Caple didn't start, sophomore David Bosner did, who held his own seeing 9 shots and turning them all aside. Caple stopped 7 of 10 shots, allowing 3 goals in a 14 minute and 42 second span. Even the freshman showed Caple how it was done. Now, coach Serratore may not rely on his more experienced goaltender, but regardless he's going to want to put his best guy (whoever that is) between the pipes.
From my perspective, I always view Air Force as a bit of a wild card. The only real measuring stick I have from last season for them is their final regular season opponent in Sacred Heart. Which Air Force defeated in their final two games, collectively outscoring the Pioneers 14-4. Then three games later, in the AHA semifinal, Air Force loses to Sacred Heart 2-1. They seem to ride a roller coaster, and its a bit tough to judge where they will be week in and week out.
The last time these two teams clashed was a meeting in Fairbanks back in mid-October of 2006, where the Nanooks put up 3-0, and 8-4 wins together for the sweep. Dion Knelsen had a 5 point night on 2 goals and 3 assists in the last contest. Former Nanook captain Adam Naglich put up a pair of goals in the same game as well.
The Nanooks will be taking the ice tomorrow for the first time on a full Olympic sheet this season. The team will travel to Anchorage tomorrow morning, settle in and get a practice or two in before the puck drops Friday. It will certainly be an interesting game. You know Air Force will be conditioned, and the Nanooks look primed to compete with anybody.
Nanooks take the first game of the Kendall Hockey Classic, 6-1. Air Force will move on to beat UAA 3-2 in OT.