The Falcons (20-12-4, 15-9-3 AHA) got the victory and those breaks – both Connecticut and Robert Morris lost — which proved even bigger than usual.
“To be able to re-rack each year and get that bye is impressive but it has never been more important than this year,” coach Frank Serratore said. “We are just not the same team without (junior defensemen Dan) Weissenhofer and (Alex) Halloran back there.”
Weissenhofer, who has a stress fracture in his lower right leg, can walk without a boot. Halloran (groin pull) was able to practice last week.
Junior forward George Michalke sat out the regular-season series finale to build up his strength after losing about 15 pounds during a bout with pneumonia.
“He’s just coming around to where he can eats solid food,” Serratore said. “The extra week makes the difference between us being shorthanded or at full strength.”
All three players are likely to be available when third seed Air Force hosts a team to be determined during the AHA quarterfinals March 14-16. If seeding holds, it would be No. 6 Niagara.
“Hopefully we can heal up a bit and the other teams will beat up on each other a bit in the first round,” sophomore Ben Carey said. “It all adds up over a season.”