Air Force Holds off Canisius at Frontier Face-Off Classic

DENVER, Colo. – Sophomore Keith Dreyer (Malvern, Pa.) tallied his first hat trick of the season to lead the Air Force lacrosse team to a 10-8 victory over Canisius in the opening game of the Frontier Airlines Face-Off Classic, hosted by the University of Denver.

The two teams traded goals throughout the first period, with Dreyer opening up the scoring just over two and a half minutes into the contest with an unassisted goal. After Canisius' first goal of the game, Kyle Cassady (Jr., Upper Arlington, Ohio) tallied his first score with 7:46 on the clock to give the Falcons a 2-1 lead, but the Golden Griffins responded with another score a minute later.

Air Force found the back of the net on its next possession, as Erik Smith (Jr., Denver, Colo.) scored off a feed from Kyle O'Brien (So., Denver, Colo.) to regain the lead. The Falcons stayed on top until 30 seconds left in the period, when Canisius came back with another goal to tie the score at 3-3.

The Golden Griffins took their first lead of the game with 8:02 to play in the second period and held the advantage until 1:07 remaining on the clock when Michael Curran (Jr., North Brunswick, N.J.) tallied a man-up goal with an assist from Mike Crampton (Jr., Kinnelon, N.J.) to tie the game at 4-4 going into the intermission.

Air Force regained the lead with a goal from Crampton four minutes into the third quarter, while Dreyer tallied his second score of the contest with 6:37 on the clock to push Air Force's advantage to 6-4. The Golden Griffins cut the margin back to a single goal, but Cassady notched his second goal with just over two minutes on the clock to give the Falcons a 7-5 advantage heading into the final stanza.

Canisius tallied the first score of the fourth quarter, but Air Force received back-to-back scores from McKee and Smith to push its advantage to three goals with nine minutes remaining. Dreyer completed his hat trick with a man-up score at the 2:04 mark to give the Falcons a 10-6 lead, but the Golden Griffins registered a pair of scores, including a man-up goal, in the final 1:15 to bring the final tally to 10-8.

Air Force held a 47-33 advantage on shots taken for the game, including a 30-15 edge in the second half. The Falcons also won 15 of 21 face-offs, led by junior Bryan Price (Denver, Colo.), who won nine of his 10 draws. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Austin Fox (Sr., Webster, N.Y.) had a solid effort between the pipes for Air Force, recording a season-high 12 saves.

"I don't think today was our best effort by any means," said Air Force head coach Eric Seremet. "But we were able to grit it out, the kids did what it took to win. I give a lot of credit to Canisius-they played their butts off. They're a very talented team and they took advantage of us at times. We've still got a lot of work to do."

The Falcons close out the weekend tomorrow, when they face 12th-ranked Lehigh. The game is slated to begin 11:00 a.m. at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium.

* * * *

Canisius College lost its season opener on Saturday afternoon, falling to Air Force, 10-8, at the Frontier Airlines Face-Off Classic in Denver.

“I'm definitely proud of the way our young group competed today,” said Canisius head coach Randy Mearns. “At the same time the loss stings. We were in this game throughout and didn't capitalize on some glorious opportunities. We will certainly build from this.

“We need to do a better job at the faceoff X and the ground ball battle. Air Force is a solid squad but we have to grow from that experience and prepare for another challenge against Denver tomorrow.”

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