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by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

TAMPA, Fla. - Eric Ehn had six points and Andrew Ramsey scored the game-winner with 1:27 remaining as Air Force beat Alabama-Huntsville, 7-5, in the first game of the Lightning College Hockey Classic at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla.

The Falcons will face the winner of the Notre Dame-Army game on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 8:05 p.m. EST.

Air Force improved to 3-4 overall while UAH fell to 1-5-1.

Air Force opened the scoring at the 4:15 mark of the first period as Ehn scored the first ever goal of the inaugural tournament. With the Falcons on the power play, Ehn scored his ninth of the season from Matt Fairchild and Josh Schaffer to begin a wild and crazy opening period.

UAH tied the game at the 9:14 mark on the power play. Shaun Arvai took a slap shot from the point that was saved, but David Nimmo put back the rebound to tie the score. Ehn's second of the season and his nation-leading 10th of the year broke the tie at the 10:17 mark. Mike Phillipich made a centering pass to Ehn skating down the slot. Freshman Chris Hepp also assisted on the play. Three minutes later, Phillipich scored his third of the season from Ramsey and Ehn. Ramsey made the centering pass that was wristed in by Phillipich.

UAH came back to tie the score at 3-3 with two goals in a span of 55 seconds. The first came from Steve Canter as he collected a loose puck in front of the Air Force net and beat Peter Foster. The second came on the power-play at 2:46. Mike Salekin sent the puck around the boards from the neutral zone. As the puck was heading behind the net, it took a bounce off the back boards and rolled to the top of the crease. Grant Selinger was all alone and put the puck in the open net to tie the game at 3-3.

Air Force took the lead again with 2:01 remaining on Ramsey's fourth of the season. Ehn stick-handled past a Charger defenseman at the top of the circle and then centered the puck to Ramsey coming down the slot who redirected the puck past UAH goalie Jordan Erickson. Air Force out-shot UAH, 12-5, in the first period and had an 8-0 advantage in the first 10 minutes.

Each team scored once in the second period as the Falcons carried a 5-4 lead into the third period. Freshman Jeff Hajner's first career goal came at 6:30 of the second period and gave the Falcons a 5-3 lead. Schaffer made a pass from behind the net to Hajner on the left post who had plenty of open net in front of him. Three minutes later, the Chargers scored as Nimmo's slap shot was saved, but Brett McConnachie put back the rebound. After the goal, Falcon junior Ian Harper replaced Foster between the pipes.

The score remained deadlocked at 5-5 until the final five minutes of the third period. With the Falcons on the power-play, UAH's Tyler Hilbert scored a short-handed goal with 4:12 remaining to tie the score.

With seven seconds remaining on a Falcon power play, Ramsey netted the game winner from Ehn and Greg Flynn. Ehn made a pass to Ramsey in the high slot whose wrister slid under the pads of Erickson to give the Falcons a 6-4 lead.

"We had to win tonight to prove to ourselves that we can win," Ehn said. "Our line is really clicking right now. We have some good chemistry and we are getting a lot of shots. Tonight was one of those nights that everything we threw at the net seemed to go in."

UAH pulled its goaltender with 53 seconds remaining, but the Falcons cleared the puck out of the zone three times. The third time, Ehn cleared it deep down the ice and Fairchild won a race to the puck. He tucked the puck into the open net to secure the victory with 12 seconds remaining.

"We needed a victory bad, especially after giving up late goals and getting beat last week," head coach Frank Serratore said. "We needed to win one like that. We are so happy to be in the championship game. We had to overcome some adversity with our travel. (Air Force's flight out of Denver was cancelled on Thursday due to the Colorado blizzard and the team didn't arrive in Tampa until Friday morning). We had many great performances tonight. Ehn is the type of player that we don't get very many of. He is a tremendous offensive player and could play on the power-play for anyone in the country. Ramsey is dynamic little guy with great energy and skill. He is our Martin St. Louis (Tampa Bay Lightning forward)."

Air Force out-shot UAH, 30-22, in the game. Foster played the first 29 minutes for Air Force, making six saves and allowing four goals. Harper played the final 31 minutes and earned his first win of the season. He made 11 saves while allowing one goal. Erickson played 59 minutes and gave up seven goals while making 23 saves. Air Force was 3-for-8 on the power play while UAH was 3-for-4.
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