Air Force Rides Hot Goalie to Title
by Becky Ebert/CHN Reporter
ROCHESTER, N.Y. It was a battle to the final buzzer. RIT clobbered Air Force freshman goaltender Jason Torf with 40 shots, but it was Torf who came out with the 1-0 victory and his second shutout of the season, giving the Falcons an Atlantic Hockey championship and a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
“I feel like it’s something that I truly won’t be able to appreciate until a few years from now. I definitely had to earn my shutouts this year,” Torf said. “Never have I ever had more faith in a defensive corps than I did tonight.”
For Torf, it's been quite a ride. After a strong season replacing an Air Force legend, Andrew Volkening — who helped get Air Force within an OT goal of the Frozen Four two seasons ago — Torf was lit up in his first playoff game, despite his team getting a win.
The next night, he earned his first career shutout, as Air Force advanced past Sacred Heart. One week later, he was topping that.
“He’s got a very calm demeanor, he’s quietly competitive by natural. He’s got that calmness in net, he doesn’t get rattled,” said coach Serratore. “He has been pulled several games this year, but he always comes back strong.”
It was Falcons star forward Jacques Lamoureux who scored the game-winning goal. Air Force defenseman Tim Kirby battled his way to the front of net, sending a shot that rebound right to the stick of Lamoureux for the power play goal.
“To have the game winning goal in a 1-0 win in the championship game during my senior year, I couldn’t be happier for the other seniors on my team and the rest of the team,” said Lamoureux.
For RIT, a team that had a magical run to the Frozen Four last year, it won't get another chance this year. The Tigers were shut out for the first time since a game against Minnesota State on Jan. 2 of last year.
It didn’t come due to lack of trying.
“I was very happy with our play and effort tonight,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson. “I thought at times we dominated the game and generated enough offense to win the game, but we couldn’t score.”
The Tigers had four opportunities on the man advantage, generating 13 shots in total, but Torf and the Air Force defense stood tall.
“Going into the third, I think we had maybe three shots, it felt like,” said Torf. “I worked hard, but they probably worked harder than me.”
RIT senior Andrew Favot made his return to the ice after serving a one game suspension for a game disqualification. Favot recorded eight shots on goal, the most out of his team. Unfortunately, Favot and his fellow seniors won’t be making another trip to the NCAA playoffs.
“It’s devastating, especially being a senior and knowing it’s my last game,” said Favot. “The goalie played well, he stood on his head. He won the game for them.”