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Air Force defeats Canisius hockey in AHC semifinals

CANISIUS COLLEGE ATHLETICS

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Fifth-seeded Air Force used goals from three different players and a 24-save shutout from Billy Christopoulos to defeat second-seeded Canisius, 3-0, in the second semifinal of the 2018 Atlantic Hockey Conference Tournament Friday at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y.
 
Kyle Haak, Erik Baskin and Matt Serratore all scored for the Falcons (21-14-5), who advanced to Saturday's championship contest with the shutout victory. Air Force will face No. 7 seed Robert Morris, who defeated top-seeded Mercyhurst in overtime during the first semifinal earlier on Friday, in a rematch of the 2017 championship contest.  
 
Sophomore Daniel Urbani recorded 31 stops between the pipes for the Golden Griffins (19-17-2).
 
Following a scoreless first, Haak gave Air Force a 1-0 lead at the 6:12 mark of the second when his shot from the point deflected off a Canisius defender and into the net while the Falcons were on the power play.
 
Baskin doubled the Air Force margin to 2-0 with less than four minutes to play in the middle period as he jammed home a loose puck for his team-leading 16th goal of the campaign.
 
Serratore expanded the Air Force cushion to 3-0 just before the six-minute mark of the third, beating Canisius goaltender Daniel Urbani with a rebound in the middle of the slot for his 14th of the season.
 
That would be all the support that Christopoulos would need, as he turned aside all 24 shots he faced, including a game-high 12 attempts by Canisius in the first period, to record his second consecutive shutout and propel the defending-champion Falcons back into the title game.  
 
Head Coach Trevor Large's Postgame Comment
"Obviously, it was not our night tonight. Offense was at a premium. I thought we had a really good first period. It became a special-teams battle in the second and then we were trying and trying to push in the third, we just couldn't find any offense tonight. That's the story of the game. But immediately after the game, my thoughts go to our senior class. What they've been able to do during their time in a Canisius jersey has been truly special. As a coach, I think about all of our seniors pretty quickly after a game like that."
 
Game Notes
• Air Force increased its lead in the all-time series to 21-13-9 with the victory on Friday. The Falcons also improved to 3-2 against the Griffs in Atlantic Hockey Tournament matchups.
• Canisius moved to 1-14-0 this season when held to two goals or fewer.
• The Griffs slipped to 2-16-1 this season when allowing the first goal of the contest.
• Canisius was held without a power-play goal for the 12th time this season as it went 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
Junior Dylan McLaughlin finished his junior campaign second on the program's Division I era chart for points (48) and assists (31) in a single season.
Senior Ryan Schmelzer ends his career tied with former teammate Shane Conacher for tenth place on the program's Division I era chart for points in a career (106). Schmelzer also finishes tied for ninth in goals (40) and tenth in assists (66).  
Sophomore Daniel Urbani recorded 30 or more saves in a game for the 17th time this season. Urbani finished the campaign third on the program's single-season chart for wins in a campaign with 17.