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Air Force wins WWPA, qualifies for NCAA tournament

Air Force defeated top-seeded UC San Diego in the WWPA finals to earn their first NCAA tournament berth since 1994.

Air Force avenged three straight loses to UC San Diego as they defeated the Tritons 9-7 at the 2012 WWPA championship game. The win for Air Force sends them to their first NCAA tournament since 1994, that is also the last time that the Falcons won the WWPA tournament.

This is also the first time since 1994 that two teams outside of the state of California will be in the NCAA tournament -- St. Francis out of the CWPA also qualified on Sunday. That was the last time the NCAA tournament had eight teams, and ever 1994 since the NCAA tournament has been four teams.

Air Force always had a lead in this game, and UC San Diego had to come back multiple times from trailing by one or two goals. Whenever UC San Diego tied it up, the Falcons were able to pull back ahead.

The game was close throughout as it was tied at two after the first period, deadlocked at four at the half and Air Force led just 6-5 heading into the final period. It was the fourth period when Air Force started to pull away, their biggest lead in the game was when the Falcons led 9-6 late in the period.

Air Force clinched the game when Peter Jackovich and Andrew Hamilton to take a 9-6 lead with 3:10 to play. The Falcons fought off two UCSD timeouts and a 6 on 5 before John Butler scored with just 15 seconds left to give Air Force the two goal win.

Goalie Mike Fish was huge in the cage for the Falcons, making 14 saves. The scoring attack for Air Force was spread around as seven different players scored, and two of those came from Brad Rajchel and Andrew Hamilton. UC San Diego was led in scoring by Brian Donohoe who had three goals.