Oct. 17, 2012
Army Hockey Game Notes
WEST POINT, N.Y. -- The Army hockey begins league play this weekend with a pair of Atlantic Hockey Association contests against Sacred Heart.
Friday's game is set for 7:05 p.m. at Tate Rink while Saturday's contest will be at Sacred Heart's Milford Ice Pavilion at the same time.
Army enters the weekend 0-2-0 after dropping a pair of games at the Ice Breaker Tournament in Kansas City, Mo. Following a 5-1 loss to Nebraska-Omaha, #20 Maine rallied for a 4-3 victory in the consolation game.
Sacred Heart also opened its season last weekend, dropping an 8-2 decision to Providence. The Pioneers began league play Tuesday at Bentley.
The Army hockey players are wearing TK stickers on their helmets to honor the memory of Major Tom Kennedy.
Kennedy, a 2000 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, was killed in action in Afghanistan in August.
Kennedy played hockey at Army and then returned to West Point where he served as an Officer Representative for the team and later as the President of the Army Hockey Parents Association.
The first 1,000 fans through the turnstiles on Friday will receive a print of the 2012-13 Army hockey team.
After the game, selected members of the team will be signing autographs in the lobby of Holleder Center.
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's season-opening game with Nebraska-Omaha was shown live to a national audience on NBC Sports Network, marking the first of three national television appearances for the Black Knights. Dave Strader provided play-by-play with Pierre McGuire handling color commentary from inside the benches.
CBS Sports Network announced that the Black Knights' games against Air Force and Robert Morris will be carried live as part of the Atlantic Hockey Association package.
Army's game against Robert Morris at Tate Rink on Jan. 4, 2013, will be shifted to 7:30 p.m. to accommodate the CBS Sports Network broadcast, while the Jan. 12 contest at Air Force will be moved to 6 p.m. Eastern as Army continues its long tradition of playing on national television. Last season, CBS Sports Network carried the Air Force at Army game from Tate Rink.
This marks the 10th consecutive season Army has had a game on national television.
ARMY vs. SACRED HEART
Sacred Heart leads the all-time series with Army 22-20-5. While Army is 14-8-2 vs. Sacred Heart at West Point, the Pioneers hold a 14-6-3 advantage at their home rink.
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.
HOUSE OF BLUES
The Army hockey team will continue to raise prostate cancer awareness with a "House of Blues" celebration on Jan. 5 against Robert Morris. This will mark the second season of the campaign.
Last year, T-shirts and bracelets were distributed to fans, Army donned special blue sweaters and Army Athletic Association employee and prostate cancer survivor Chris Perry dropped the first puck. The American Cancer Society was on hand for the event as well.
"I'm proud of the players for wanting to get involved and wanting to help the community," said Army hockey head coach Brian Riley. "This is a way they could give back. The hockey community has done a great job of raising awareness for this terrible disease and it says a lot about the caliber of players we have that they volunteer their time to support this cause."
For four-straight seasons Army has a non-conference win among its list of accolades.
Army posted a 3-2 victory over Rensselaer in the consolation game of the Toyota UConn Classic at the Freitas Ice Forum in Storrs, Conn., on Dec. 30, 2011.
Brian Schultz scored the game-winning goal with 93 seconds left to lift the Black Knights past ECAC rival RPI.
Two years ago, Army beat Hockey East's Massachusetts 5-2 in Amherst, Mass., on Nov. 5 and dispatched Rensselaer, 2-1, on Nov. 31, 2009, in Troy, N.Y.
Those wins came on the heels of a 3-2 victory over No. 2 Miami of the CCHA at the Ohio State Tournament on Jan. 3, 2009.
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 competed 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.
SKATE WITH US
The popular "Skate With The Black Knights," will return for the third consecutive season. Postgame skates are scheduled for Oct. 26, Nov. 16, 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.
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 on in person at the Army Ticket Office.
ABOUT THE BLACK KNIGHTS
All 25 healthy players on the Army roster played last weekend at the Ice Breaker, allowing the 13 freshmen to quickly get acclimated to the collegiate game.
Sophomores Mac Lalor and Josh Richards and freshmen Thane Heller and Luke Jenkins have each scored once this season while senior Andy Starczewski and sophomore Zak Zaremba each have a pair of assists. Freshmen Joe Kozlak also has an assist.
Both Ryan Leets and Rob Tadazak saw time in goal over the weekend. Leets made 33 saves while Tadazak turned away 50 shots.
ABOUT THE PIONEERS
Sacred Heart also has two games under its belt. After opening the season with an 8-2 loss to Providence, the Pioneers lost to Bentley, 7-1, Tuesday.
Drew George and Eric Delong scored for the Pioneers while both Steven Legatto and Andrew Bodnarchuk played in goal. Legatto made 26 saves and Bodnarchuk 33 as the Friars posted 59 shots on goal.
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 competing with the Boston Bruins' AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins.
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 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 ON-LINE
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 has been 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.