Jan. 3, 2013
Army Hockey Game Notes
WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Fresh off an overtime victory over Canisius, the Army hockey team returns to Tate Rink for a pair of special games against nationally ranked Robert Morris.
Army enters the weekend tied for second-place in the Atlantic Hockey Association with a 6-3-2 mark following a thrilling 1-0 overtime win against Canisius. The Black Knights are 6-8-2 overall.
Robert Morris, ranked 19th in the latest uscho.com poll, is 9-4-2 overall and 4-3-1 in league games and comes to Tate Rink following a pair of shutouts against Penn State and then #5 Miami of Ohio.
CBS Sports Network will broadcast Friday's game live to a national audience beginning at 7:30 p.m. Ben Holden, Jim Paradise and Shireen Saski will have the call.
Saturday's contest is Army's annual House of Blues celebration, an evening to raise Prostate Cancer Awareness. The first 500 fans through the turnstiles will receive t-shirts, bracelets will be handed out and Army will wear its blue sweaters.
Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.goARMYsports.com, in person at the Michie Stadium Box Office or by calling 1-877-TIX-ARMY.
Army's 1-0 overtime win against Canisius on Dec. 30 showed just how hard it is to win in the extra session.
When freshman Joe Kozlak converted a pass from Mac Lalor and R.J. Burns nearly three minutes in, it gave Army its first overtime win since Jan. 7, 2006 when the Black Knights topped Mercyhurst 3-2.
The victory was Army's first road overtime win since edging Iona, 6-5, on Feb. 22, 2002.
It is the first time Army has beaten an opponent 1-0 in overtime.
Sophomore Rob Tadazak turned away 25 shots for his first career shutout in a 1-0 overtime win at Canisius on Dec. 30.
Tadazak, making his 18th career start, recorded seven saves in the first period, three in the second, 10 in the third and five in overtime. He stopped a point-blank opportunity seconds before Army scored the game-winning goal.
The shutout by Tadazak is the first for an Army goalie since Jay Clark blanked Connecticut Jan. 22, 2010 with 31 saves.
HOUSE OF BLUES
For the second consecutive season, the Army Hockey team will help raise prostate cancer awareness with a House of Blues promotion on Saturday, Jan. 5.
The Black Knights will face Atlantic Hockey Association opponent Robert Morris at 7:05 p.m. and a bevy of events are planned to raise awareness at Tate Rink.
The first 500 fans through the turnstiles will be presented with bracelets and t-shirts with a limited number of fans being given blue t-shirts. The Black Knights will don special blue jerseys for the contest as well.
Army hockey players helped organize the event and have helped invite fans through social media.
In addition to the jerseys, t-shirts and bracelets, literature will be available in the Tate Rink lobby to educate.
Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.goARMYsports.com, in person at the Michie Stadium Box Office or by calling 1-877-TIX-ARMY.
Army returned to the ice following a 16-day break for Term-Ending Exams and the holidays with an exhibition game against the Russian Junior All-Stars.
Despite out-shooting the Russians 43-33, Army fell 6-2 as Mac Lalor and Joe Kozlak collected goals.
A crowd of 2,636 -- the second sell out of the season for Army - turned out to watch a well-played, physical contest.
The Russian Junior All-Stars are playing six games during their trip to North America. In addition to Army, they will also play Yale and Brown and travel to Canada for a pair of games. They began their trip with a game opposite the Boston Junior Bruins.
The Russian Junior All-Stars are comprised from a 32-team development league for the professional and highly regarded Kontinental Hockey League with teams from Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Latvia and Slovakia.
The USCHO released its mid-season all-stars and Army had a pair of mentions.
Senior Andy Starczewski was one of three forwards, along with Brett Gensler of Bentley and Giancarlo Iuorio and Brian Riley is the mid-season Coach of the Year.
Starczewski was lauded for leading the team offensively, while Riley gained recognition for having the team near the top of the league standings despite such a young roster.
Steve Weinstein of Bentley and Chris Aracino of RIT were the defensemen, while Matt Blomquist of Bentley is the Rookie of the Year and Carsen Chubak of Niagara the MVP.
The Friday, Jan. 4, contest against Robert Morris at Tate Rink will be shown live on CBS Sports Network at 7:30 p.m.
Ben Holden, Jim Paradise and Shireen Saski will call the game, the second of three national television contests for the Black Knights.
Army's season-opening game with Nebraska-Omaha was shown live to a national audience on NBC Sports Network. Dave Strader provided play-by-play with Pierre McGuire handling color commentary from between the benches.
CBS Sports Network will also carry the Jan. 12 contest at Air Force. That game was moved to 6 p.m. Eastern as Army continues its long tradition of playing on national television.
This marks the 10th consecutive season Army has had a game on national television.
The Atlantic Hockey Association has three teams ranked the latest USCHO.com poll. Niagara, which had its eight-game winning streak snapped at Bowling Green is #18, Robert Morris #19 and Holy Cross #20. Army beat Holy Cross 7-2 on Oct. 27 and dropped a pair of games to Niagara.
HONORS FOR LALOR
Army sophomore defenseman Mac Lalor was named the Atlantic Hockey Association Player of the Week on Dec. 17. Lalor scored twice in Army's 4-2 loss to Merrimack on Dec. 11.
Lalor was moved to forward for the first time in his Army career for the non-conference matchup at Merrimack. Instead of his usual right defenseman spot, he played right wing.
Lalor was at his usual spot at the point on the power play where he scored two goals less than a minute apart to help Army rebound from a 2-0 deficit.
It is the first Player of the Week honor for Lalor and the fifth time this season an Army player was honored by the league.
The Army Athletic Association honored former hockey player, Officer Representative and athletic department supporter Major Tom Kennedy during the Dec. 1 hockey game vs. American International at Tate Rink. Kennedy, a 2000 U.S. Military Academy graduate, was killed in action in Afghanistan in August of this year.
Army wore its black sweaters for the game with "Kennedy" across the back with an American flag.
A letterman on the hockey team, Kennedy returned to West Point and served as a Tactical Officer where he impacted the lives of thousands of cadets. In addition to his work with all of the cadets, Kennedy was an Officer Representative with the hockey program and was elected president of the Army Hockey Parents Association. He was deployed out of Fort Carson, Colo., following his term at West Point.
The Army hockey team is wearing "TK" stickers on its helmets and there are two spots on the ice with his initials and an American flag. All fans at the game received similar stickers.
Prior to the game, Army hockey head coach Brian Riley, who recruited Kennedy when he was an assistant coach, addressed the crowd from the ice and spoke about Kennedy's impact and selflessness while Kennedy's family, including his wife, Kami, twin children Brody and Maggie, parents George and Patricia and brothers, John and George were on the ice.
Army captain Cheyne Rocha and alternate captain Andy Starczewski presented #14 Kennedy jerseys to his twins and his wife participated in a ceremonial faceoff.
Following the emotional, hard-fought 4-3 victory, both teams stood at attention for the West Point alma mater. A pair of Army gloves and helmet were left on one blue line, Army was at center ice and AIC stood on the far blue line.
A sold-out crowd of 2,648 was on hand.
One of the points of emphasis for Army has been winning the third period. Through 15 games, the Black Knights and their opponents have each scored 13 goals in the final session. In league games, Army holds an 11-5 advantage in the final 20 minutes and overtime.
Army senior alternate captain Ryan Leets enjoyed a stellar run in November and December to help Army remain near the top of the standings. From Nov. 16 until Dec. 1, he was 3-0-1 with a 1.93 goals against average and .928 save percentage. Leets yielded just seven goals over that span and was in net as Army beat Sacred Heart (3-2), Bentley (3-2) and AIC (3-2) and tied Connecticut (2-2).
Leets held Bentley to just a pair of goals, two below their average which, at the time, led the country.
Army senior defenseman John Clark is authoring a blog this season at www.goARMYsports.com. Clark will provide periodic updates throughout the season, providing fans an inside look into the Black Knights.
TURKEY DAY TRAVEL
For the first time in the nine-year tenure of Army hockey coach Brian Riley, the Black Knights did not play over Thanksgiving.
With a roster that features 13 freshmen, Riley opted for the players to return home for the first time since summer training began for most of the players.
The team enjoyed three days off before returning to practice on Sunday, Nov. 25.
Not only was senior defenseman Cheyne Rocha a finalist for a Rhodes Scholarship, he is also on the ballot for the Senior CLASS Award.
He is one of 20 student-athletes that have been named nominees for the prestigious Senior CLASS Award, an accolade that recognizes achievements on and off the ice.
Rocha, from Rye, N.H., is one of 20 candidates on the initial ballot. The list will be cut in half to 10 finalists midway through the regular season. The winner will be chosen through a nationwide vote by media, coaches and fans.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. The winner of the award best exemplifies excellence in communication, classroom, character and competition.
A team captain, Rocha boasts a cumulative grade-point average of greater than 4.0 and is a three-time Atlantic Hockey Association Academic All-Star. An Engineering Management major, he has been on the Dean's List in each of his six semesters.
In addition to his work in the classroom, Rocha was instrumental in beginning House of Blues, an awareness campaign for prostate cancer. The event originated at West Point and is now the preferred charity of Atlantic Hockey. He is also active with the Special Olympics and Neighborhood Knights, a team group that provides community service. Rocha volunteers with the Army Junior Black Knights hockey program and holds a leadership position in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
On the ice, Rocha is a four-year contributor. He overcame a leg injury in his junior season and has played in all eight of the team's game this year. He has one assist.
WINNING WITH YOUTH
Army is the third youngest team in Division I, according to research by College Hockey Inc.
Army has 13 freshmen on its roster, just one less than Penn State and Providence which have 14.
Miami and Michigan State each have 12 freshmen on their rosters.
100 FOR COACH RILEY
Army head coach Brian Riley posted his 100th career victory in a 7-2 win at Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., on Oct. 27.
Riley, now in his ninth season as head coach, is the third member of his family to eclipse the century mark for career victories.
Brian's father, Jack, won 542 games in his 36 seasons as head coach while brother Rob posted 257 victories during his 18 seasons.
For the first time since 2011, Army swept a pair of weekend games. Following up a 3-2 road win at Bentley, Army beat AIC two days later by the same score, the first time Army won both weekend conests since Feb. 18-19, 2011.
SKATE WITH US
The popular "Skate With The Black Knights," returns for the third consecutive season. Postgame skates are scheduled for Jan. 19, Feb. 8 and Feb. 23.
Fans must bring their own skates and store them under their seats during the game.
Selected Army players will join fans for a 20-minute skating session following the contest with plenty of photograph and autograph opportunities.
ABOUT THE BLACK KNIGHTS
Army is 6-8-2 overall and 6-3-2 in league games following a split at Canisius Dec. 29 and 30. Following a penalty-plagued 5-1 loss, Army responded with a 1-0 overtime victory before making the seven-hour-plus trek back to West Point.
The Black Knights are averaging 2.2 goals per game and allowing 3.2 while scoring 11 power play goals in 67 chances. They have allowed opponents 13 goals in 62 opportunities.
Andy Starczewski leads the team with 11 assists and five goals for 16 points, while Mac Lalor has four goals and six assists. Thane Heller has nine points on five goals and four assists and Joe Kozlak has five assists and four goals. Zak Zaremba (four goals, three assists) and Josh Richards (three goals, four assist) have seven points.
Ryan Leets is 4-4-1 in goal while Rob Tadazak is 2-4-1. Leets has a 3.23 goals against average and .909 save percentage and Tadazak shows a 2.94 goals against average and .912 save percentage.
ABOUT THE COLONIALS
Robert Morris is coming off a pair of wins at the Three Rivers Classic at CONSOL Energy Center and is 9-4-2 overall and 4-3-1 in league games entering the weekend.
The Colonials are unbeaten in their last seven games having beaten and tied Holy Cross (4-3, 1-1), beaten and tied Ohio State (3-2, 2-2), beaten Penn State (3-2 and 6-0) and #5 Miami, 1-0.
Goalie Eric Levine made 99 saves and posted a pair of shutouts in wins against Penn State and Miami. For the season, he is 8-2-2 with a .954 save percentage and 1.81 goals against average.
The Colonials average 2.9 goals per game while allowing 2.1. They have scored six power play goals in 66 chances while allowing opponents 10 goals in 74 opportunities.
Adam Brace is the leading scorer with eight assists and six goals, while Zach Hervato has six goals and six assists. Colin South (five goals, six assist), Scott Jacklin (three goals, eight assists) and Jeff Jones (two goals, nine assists) all have 11 points.
Seniors Ryan Leets and Cheyne Rocha were honored on the ice prior to the Penn State game on Oct. 26 for their excellence in the classroom last season.
Both Leets and Rocha posted a 4.0 grade-point average and were tabbed as Student Athletes of the Year by the Atlantic Hockey Association.
League commissioner Bob DeGregorio, head Officer Representative Col. Ed Naessens, Army hockey head coach Brian Riley and Executive Athletic Director Bob Beretta were on hand to present the awards.
Leets, from Kentwood, Mich., earned a 4.04 grade-point average as a Civil Engineering major. Rocha, an Engineering Management major from Rye, N.H., registered a 4.17 GPA.
Leets and Rocha were among the 18 Army hockey players named to the Atlantic Hockey All-Academic Team last season.
ICE BREAKER OPEN
Army began its season at the Ice Breaker Tournament in Kansas City, Mo.
The Black Knights fell to Nebraska-Omaha 5-1 and #20 Maine overcame a pair of deficits in a 4-3 win in the consolation game.
Notre Dame beat Nebraska-Omaha, 3-2, to win the title.
Army senior Andy Starczewski and freshman Joe Kozlak picked up a pair of awards as the Atlantic Hockey Association announced its monthly award winners.
Starczewski was named the Player of the Month and Kozlak the Rookie of the Month as October competitions concluded. Carsen Chubak of Niagara was the Goaltender of the Month.
Starczewski totaled four goals and six assists in his first six games of the season. He scored a hat trick against Sacred Heart and handed out three assists at Holy Cross to help Army to a 2-3-1 overall record and 2-0-1 conference mark.
Kozlak collected six points in the first six games of the season and earned his first league citation as the Rookie of the Month. He has two goals and four assists on the year, including the game-winning goal in the road victory at Holy Cross.
For the second consecutive year, the Army men's hockey team earned the Leader-Athlete Award from West Point for having the highest cadet performance score among the male NCAA-sponsored sports.
Cadet performance scores include academic, military and physical development. The Army Athletic Association annually distributes an award to the teams who achieve the highest score. The cross country team paced the females.
Senior goalie and alternate captain Ryan Leets led the hockey squad and was named a Leader-Athlete.
The Army hockey team will continue its tradition of playing the Long Island RoughRiders sled hockey team. This year's exhibition is slated for Feb. 16 against Bentley.
After the game, Army will trade the skates for sleds and compete in a 20-minute exhibition game against the team from Long Island.
Sled hockey is played mainly by people with various lower extremity disabilities in which players are seated on sleds, which are affixed to two hockey skate blades under the seat. The sleds are about three inches off the ice and around three feet long depending on the size of the player. The sled glides on the blades and a metal bar located at the front of the sled.
Players use their arms to propel themselves along the ice and dig picks, on the ends of two short hockey sticks, into the ice to pull themselves forward. Players have a right and a left stick (the blades are curved differently) that are miniature copies of a typical hockey stick, except for the metal picks (like figure skate toe picks) on the ends. Players shoot, pass, and propel themselves with the sticks.
This marks the sixth year Army has played Long Island.
Ryan Leets and Cheyne Rocha were among the 18 hockey players honored as the Atlantic Hockey Association distributed its academic awards over the summer.
Leets, a goalie and Rocha, a defenseman, were tabbed as Student-Athletes of the Year by posting at least a 4.0 grade-point average. Leets became the first player in league history to be named a Student-Athlete of the Year three times.
Leets and Rocha were among the 14 student-athletes with a GPA of 4.0 or higher and the two were included in the 179 league players who posted at least a 3.0 in both semesters of competition and a GPA of 3.0 during the 2011-12 season.
Joining Leets and Rocha on the All-Academic Team were Marcel Alvarez, Jack Barnes, Jon Bobb, John Clark, Danny Colvin, Mark Dube, Mike Hull, Cody Ikkala, Bret Larson, Kyle Maggard, Alex McRae, Josh Richards, Pat Ryan, Brian Schultz, Bryant Skarda and Matt Walsh.
Leets, from Kentwood, Mich., showed a 4.04 GPA as Civil Engineering major during his junior season. Rocha, an Engineering Management major from Rye, N.H., registered a 4.17 GPA during his junior season.
CLASS OF 2016
Getting accepted to West Point is a challenge in itself. A look at the Class of 2016 shows that 15,170 candidates applied, 4,284 were nominated, 2,554 qualified and 1,193 were admitted.
Of those admitted, 72% were in the top-five of their high school class, eight percent were valedictorians, 90% played varsity sports, 57% served as team captain and 18% were either class or student body presidents.
Army head coach Brian Riley is now on Twitter. You can follow his tweets @Coach_BRiley.
Two Army players have changed numbers. Sophomore defenseman Maurice Alvarez is now wearing 24 after donning 16 as a freshman. Sophomore forward Josh Richards has opted for 19 after wearing 3 his first season.
TICKETS AT TATE
Army will play 17 games at Tate Rink with dates against Penn State, Royal Military College and the Russian Junior All-Stars as well as Atlantic Hockey Association opponents Sacred Heart, American International, Niagara, Robert Morris, RIT and Connecticut.
Season tickets and single-game tickets are now on sale and can be purchased at goARMYsports.com, by phone at 1-877-TIX-ARMY or in person at the Army Ticket Office.
Senior Andy Starczewski and freshman Willie Faust collected a pair of Atlantic Hockey Association honors for their performances Oct. 19-20. Army beat Sacred Heart 5-2 and tied the Pioneers in overtime the next night, 4-4.
Starczewski registered his second career hat trick and totaled five points in a weekend series with Sacred Heart and earned AHA Travel Team USA Player of the Week accolades.
Faust netted a goal and two assists and picked up AHA Travel Team USA Rookie of the Week honors.
Senior defenseman Cheyne Rocha will serve as the Black Knights' captain during the 2012-13 season.
Seniors Ryan Leets and Andy Starczewski and junior Brian Schultz will all handle alternate captain duties.
Seeking to give back to the community, the Army hockey team has formed "Neighborhood Knights," to volunteer their time.
The group has been actively involved in the local community and plans to utilize its time in a number of projects that benefit the environment and recreation areas.
"I am very proud of our players," said Army hockey head coach Brian Riley. "The players decided that they wanted to be more involved and have done all of this work on their own. Being a West Point cadet or a Division I hockey player is hard enough on its own, yet these guys are finding time to make a difference in their community and that says a lot about their character."
The Neighborhood Knights began their service at Brooks Park in Fort Montgomery, N.Y., where several team members raked leaves and helped clean up the area. Picking up trash in the park and neighboring stream and trails and preparing the park for spring and summer use was the focus of the day.
In addition to work at Brooks Park, the team is also actively involved in the Special Olympics.
The Neighborhood Knights were also involved in 9/11 tributes and are planning to Adopt-A-Highway in the near future, cleaning a 1.3 mile strip in Fort Montgomery, N.Y., as part of a two-year agreement.
Currently, members are working with local youth hockey teams with several projects in the works.
Former Army hockey standout Zach McKelvie is now with the Calgary Flames affiliate Abbotsford Heat. After two seasons with the Boston Bruins, McKelvie signed with Abbotsford in the offseason and will wear No. 4.
A 2009 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, McKelvie served in the Army for two years before joining the Bruins organization. He was stationed in Fort Benning, Ga., as an infantry officer and will serve eight years of reserve time.
McKelvie, listed as a 6-foot-2, 200-pound defenseman, played in 39 games last season with the Providence Bruins with a goal and an assist and 46 penalty minutes.
FROZEN IN PITTSBURGH
The Frozen Four will be held in Pittsburgh, Pa., this season at the CONSOL Energy Center, April 11 and 13.
FIRST FAMILY OF HOCKEY
It's tough to argue with those who call the Riley's the "first family of hockey." From Jack Riley winning an Olympic gold medal to his five children all playing Division I hockey, the evidence is on the ice.
Jack Riley coached at Army from 1951-1986, winning 542 games in the process. He was also selected to coach the 1960 U.S. Olympic men's hockey team and led the squad to its first gold medal in the sport.
Jack's five children all served as captains at their respective schools. Rob and Mark both played at Boston College while Jay was a star at Harvard. Brian graduated from Brown University while Mary Beth, the lone female, was a captain at St. Lawrence University.
Rob took over the Army head coaching position from his father in 1986 and then turned the program over to Brian in 2004.
WATCH IT ONLINE
America One will again provide video and audio where available of every Atlantic Hockey Association game.
Previously the B2 Network, America One is the official multi-media provider of the AHA and carries all games home and away. Subscriptions can be purchased monthly or annually. To access games, visit b2tv.com.
The official Army Athletic Association twitter page can be found at @ArmyAthletics. Score updates, links to game notes and feature stories and breaking news are all tweeted.
Army was picked to finish 10th in the Atlantic Hockey Association, according to a vote of the league's head coaches. The poll was announced at the Blue Cross Arena at Atlantic Hockey Association Media Day.
Army received 30 points and was picked ahead of American International and Sacred Heart. Each of the league's 12 head coaches voted but were not allowed to choose their own team.
Air Force collected eight first-place votes and was the top choice, followed by Niagara, which had three first-place votes. Mercyhurst was third while Bentley and RIT shared the fourth pick.
Holy Cross was chosen sixth with Connecticut, Robert Morris, Canisius, Army, AIC and Sacred Heart rounding out the poll. Robert Morris received the other first-place vote.
The 2013 Atlantic Hockey Tournament will feature the same format as last year. The top four teams receive a bye into the quarterfinals with seeds 5-8 hosting seeds 9-12 in a best two-out-of-three first round series starting Friday, March 8. The first round winners will then be re-seeded and travel to the top four seeds for a best two-out-of-three quarterfinal series, which will begin Friday, March 15.
The four winners will then travel to the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y. with the highest remaining seed facing the lowest remaining seed in the first semifinal, with the other two remaining seeds facing off in the second semifinal on Friday, March 22.
The two semifinal winners will then face-off in the Championship game on Saturday, March 23 with the NCAA Tournament automatic berth on the line.
LAST TIME OUT
12/30/12 BUFFALO, N.Y. - Army goalie Rob Tadazak made 25 saves and Joe Kozlak scored the game-winning goal in overtime as the Black Knights beat Canisius, 1-0, Sunday night in an Atlantic Hockey Association game at the Buffalo State Sports Arena.
Army out-shot Canisius 36-25 and was finally rewarded with 2:09 left in overtime with Kozlak's tally in a game broadcast throughout New York on Time Warner Cable.
The Black Knights won their first overtime game since beating Mercyhurst 3-2 on Jan. 7, 2006.
Tadazak was credited with Army's first shutout since Jan. 22, 2010 when Jay Clark and the Black Knights blanked Connecticut.
Army was the more physical team all game and secured the victory three minutes into overtime. Mac Lalor moved the puck to R.J. Burns who drove to the net. Kozlak got the puck and scored his fourth goal of the season. It was the third assist for Burns and the sixth for Lalor.
Army improved to 6-8-2 overall and 6-3-2 in league games with the win while Canisius fell to 6-8-4 overall and 5-4-3 in league games.
Kozlak broke his stick and elected to stay on the ice when he got a new stick from Director of Hockey Operations Tom Doran. He responded with his second game-winning goal this season.
Tadazak made Kozlak's game-winning tally possible. He made 10 saves in the third period and five in overtime for his second win this season.
Canisius goalie Tony Capobianco made 35 saves.