The Air Force Falcons enter the 2012 NCAA Hockey Tournament with Hobey Baker Award finalist Tim Kirby and the automatic bid from the Atlantic Hockey Association with them. The Falcons are no strangers to the postseason, making it every year since 2007 except for 2010.
The Falcons went 21-10-7 (15-6-6 AHA) for its fifth NCAA appearance in the last six years. Kirby, a defenseman, scored 12 goals and totaled 28 points, tying him for third-place in points on the team. Kyle DeLaurell scored 15 goals and tallied 38 points to lead the team. John Kruse led the team with 16 goals.
Goalie play has been strong throughout the season, but the team was not without its injuries. Jason Torf was lost for several weeks during the start of the season, but he played in 18 games and finished pre-NCAA Tournament play with a 1.72 GAA and a .928 save percentage. Stephen Caple proved more than capable as the starter, posting a 2.16 GAA in 23 games.
The Falcons' NCAA Hockey Tournament history has had its share of thrilling moments. Normally taking one of the lowest overall seeds in the tournament, the Falcons have played tough in those games. In 2007, the No. 1 overall seed Minnesota Gophers won, 4-3; 2008 witnessed the Falcons lose in overtime, 3-2, to the No. 2 overall Miami RedHawks; 2009 experienced the Falcons upsetting the No. 4 overall seed Michigan Wolverines before losing in double overtime, 3-2, to Vermont in the next round; and in 2011, the Falcons lost to the No. 1 overall seed Yale Bulldogs in overtime, 2-1.
The Falcons and the No. 1 overall seeddrop the puck on Saturday afternoon.