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Air Force moves up to No. 17

A home quarterfinals series sweep over Bentley pushed Air Force up a spot in this week's national poll to No. 17.

Atlantic Hockey Conference regular-season champion Canisius, riding a 17-game unbeaten streak, was ranked for the first time this season, reaching No. 20. It is the first time two AHC teams were ranked this season and the first time the Golden Griffins were ranked since 2013.

The No. 17 ranking is Air Force's highest since Oct. 10, 2016. The Falcons have been ranked seven times this season, including the past six polls in a row.

The Associated Press and The Gazette use the U.S. College Hockey Online poll for their rankings.

Colorado College player of the week

 

Freshman goalie Alex Leclerc recorded his third 40-plus saves performance with 42 during Friday's 4-1 loss at No. 1 Denver and added another 27 stops in Saturday's season finale (a 4-0 loss).

The Quebec native finished the season with 6-21-4 record with a 3.19 goals-against mark and .900 saves percentage, including two shutouts in 32 appearances.

Air Force player of the week

 

Junior defenseman Phil Boje recorded a career-high three points (two assists) and scored his first game-winner of the season in Friday's 4-0 playoff win over Bentley.

The AHC first-team honoree and Shoreview, Minn., native has scored a point in nine of his past 12 games to record 28 points (20 assists) in 28 games.

Army-Air Force rivalry hits higher gear with NCAA implications

Not that the rivalry between Air Force and Army needed to be amplified, but their semifinal in the single-elimination AHC championships certainly adds another layer of excitement to Friday's game.

"Folks always take interest in the service-academy games and having this be a game where one can end the other's season only adds to the intrigue," coach Frank Serratore said.

"I wish it was Friday right now," junior Dylan Abood said later during Monday's media conference. "We're all really excited."

The game between No. 2 seed Air Force (24-9-5) and the Black Knights (18-13-5) is scheduled for 5 p.m. Mountain time Friday but is likely to start almost an hour later since the early semifinal pits top-seeded Canisius (21-10-7) against the fourth-seeded Robert Morris Colonials at 2:30. Most college games last almost 21/2 hours and there is a mandatory hour break between games.

The semifinal winners advance to the title game at 5 p.m., Saturday. The Falcons went 3-1 against Army during the regular season. The Golden Griffins were 1-0-1 versus RMU (21-11-4).

Coaching carousel speeding up

A third coach was fired Monday when Niagara let go Dave Burkholder after 16 years at the helm and five years beforehand as a Purple Eagles assistant.

He joins former RPI bench boss Seth Appert and longtime Northern Michigan coach Walt Kyle, 60.

Kyle was fired Friday and arrested later that day on one count of residential mortgage fraud and one count of forgery of documents.