On February 17, 2020, Air Force and Colorado College took the Battle for Pikes Peak outside for the first time. Air Force hosted Colorado College in the second game of a home-and-home series. It was played outdoors at the football stadium in game that was touted as the Faceoff at Falcon Stadium. It was the first outdoor hockey game in program history for Air Force and the second for Colorado College – the first was against Denver at Coors Field in 2016. This was also the second outdoor hockey game played on the field at Falcon Stadium in three days. The NHL hosted a Stadium Series game two days earlier on Saturday that saw the Los Angeles Kings defeat the Colorado Avalanche 3-1.
The Tigers won the first game of the weekend at home on Friday night 6-2 and were looking for the first back-to-back wins since sweeping Princeton in December. The Falcons were hoping to get back in the win column for the first time since a sweep against Niagara in January. And above all, the Pikes Peak Trophy hung in the balance. The two teams first met in 1969 and created the Pikes Peak Trophy in 2013 to be awarded each year.
Grant Cruikshank broke the proverbial ice when he scored a power-play goal in the first period. He scored the second goal of the game halfway through the second period to make it 2-0 Tigers. The Falcons got on the board with a power-play goal of their own with only 34 seconds left in the second frame. The teams traded goals early in the third period. With Air Force down one goal, Grant Cruikshank netted the hat trick and put the game away with 37 seconds left in regulation. Colorado College defeated Air Force 4-2 and retained the Pikes Peak Trophy.
The same two teams will reignite the Battle for Pikes Peak this weekend. The rivalry was put on hold last season due to COVID scheduling. The home-and-home series starts off (indoors) at Air Force on Friday with Colorado College hosting the second game at the brand new Ed Robson Arena on Saturday. Air Force will be looking to bring home the Pikes Peak Trophy for the first time since 2017.
In the above photo, Luke Manning drives to the net as Colorado College goalie Matt Vernon prepares for a shot.
Photo Credit: Trevor Cokley via DVIDS