Oct. 23, 2013
Army at Merrimack Game Notes
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - The Army hockey team has been idle since opening the 2013-14 season with a 4-1 setback at Penn State on Friday, Oct. 11. It marked the first game to be played in the Nittany Lions' Pegula Ice Arena and took place in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 6,370 fans. The Black Knights, who have just two games scheduled in October, seek their first win (0-12-0) in North Andover, Mass., as they visit Merrimack for a Saturday night tilt at Lawler Arena.
The Last Meeting
December 11, 2012
North Andover, Mass.
• WBIN (Boston, Mass.)/Fox College Sports Webcast
• merrimackathletics.com (subscription fees apply) Radio
• Army Sports Network • 1340 WALL, 1380 WEOK (Hudson Valley) Twitter
• @Army_Hockey Live Statistics
• goARMYsports.com, merrimackathletics.com
INSIDE THE SERIES
In a series that dates back to the 1959-60 season, Merrimack has won the last 14 games and is a perfect 12-0-0 when playing at home. The Black Knights won the first eight meetings of the series, which renewed in 2008 after a 10-year haitus. For a complete listing, see page 4.
CALM BEFORE THE STORM
Saturday's game at Merrimack marks Army's second and final game played in October. The Black Knights held their annual Black and Gold Scrimmage on Oct. 5 before officially opening the season on Oct. 11 at Penn State. Army will be much busier come November, as 10 games are slated throughout the month, including seven on the road. The Black Knights open the home portion of their schedule on Saturday, Nov. 2, against Atlantic Hockey Association foe Bentley.
LAST TIME OUT
Oct. 11, 2013 | Pegula Ice Arena
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Army hockey team lifted the lid on 2013-14 with a 4-1 setback at Penn State in what was a historic season opener for both teams. The game was the first played in the new Pegula Ice Arena and entertained a standing-room-only crowd of 6,370 spectators. Penn State alumnus and Buffalo Sabres owner, Terry Pegula and his wife, Kim, donated $88 million to build the state-of-the-art facility.
The Black Knights surrendered just a single goal through two periods, but let the third get away as the Nittany Lions scored three additional goals to put the game away. Junior alternate captain Mac Lalor broke the Black Knights into the scoring column with under 5:00 to play in the game, but the damage was already done as the Nittany Lions had already taken a 3-0 lead.
Penn State outshot Army, 35-26, but the Black Knights' Achilles heel proved to be the power play, which went 1-for-10 on the night to include a pair of 5-on-3 chances.
Army starting goaltender Rob Tadazak made 31 saves, 27 of which came in the final 40 minutes. Penn State's Matthew Skoff made 25 saves to earn the win.
ABOUT THE BLACK KNIGHTS
One of the youngest teams in the country, Army was picked to finish 10th in the Atlantic Hockey Association preseason poll and is looking to improve upon the 7-22-5 record authored in 2012-13. An upstart Black Knights club opened last season as one of the hottest teams in the league, posting a 5-2-1 record in the first eight games and would like nothing more than to repeat and sustain that momentum a year later.
While Army lost leading scorer Andy Starczewski (11G, 15A) to graduation in May, the team's next 10-leading scorers are all back for the impending season to include alternate captain Mac Lalor (6G, 12A), who scored the Black Knights' lone goal at Penn State in this season's opener, and AHA All-Rookie Team selection Joe Kozlak (7G, 10A). Junior Rob Tadazak, who started 21 games last season and posted a .907 save percentage, returns to headline the Black Knights' goaltending corps. Senior Brian Schultz will serve as team captain and Lalor and fellow junior Josh Richards were selected as alternate captains.
The Black Knights will play 13 AHA games in the friendly confines of Tate Rink and travel for the remaining 14 regular-season conference dates.
Head coach Brian Riley began his 10th season behind the bench in Army's season-opening setback at Penn State on Oct. 11. Riley is the third in his family to coach the Black Knights' hockey team, following in the steps of his father, Jack, and brother, Rob.
TAKING A PAGE FROM THE NHL
The Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League spent their final three days of training camp at West Point, Sept. 27-29. The weekend stint came to a close when the Penguins dined with West Point cadets for breakfast at the Cadet Mess Hall.
During the visit, the Penguins skated for three open practices and also underwent a multitude of team-building exercises at the Academy to include combat simulation exercises and a Warrior Hike to Torne Mountain.
"It was nice to be here and spend some time with coach (Brian) Riley and the cadets," team captain Sidney Crosby said of the visit. "It's been a lot of fun meeting new people and learning about their experiences. As far as team building, I think our team benefited a lot from coming here."
Along with the Penguins, previous NHL teams to train at West Point including the Philadelphia Flyers (2008, 2005, 2003, 1998), New York Rangers (2007, 2005), Florida Panthers (2007, 1995), Buffalo Sabres (1985) and New Jersey Devils (1985).
LAST TIME OUT VS. MERRIMACK
Dec. 11, 2012 | Lawler Arena
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - Army sophomore Mac Lalor is normally a defenseman. In fact for his previous 43 games, he has played on defense.
Army coach Brian Riley wanted to try some different lines and move some folks around for the Black Knights' final non-conference game of the season at Merrimack on Tuesday night. Among the changes was Lalor from right defense to right wing, the first time he has played forward in Army uniform.
The move paid off as Lalor, from nearby Needham, Mass., scored a career-best two goals but Merrimack secured a 4-2 victory in front of a crowd at 1,869 at Lawler Arena.
Riley was coaching in his 300th career game and almost pulled off the non-conference victory.
Instead, Merrimack, a member of Hockey East, improved to 6-7-3 as goalie Rasmus Tirronen made 22 saves.
Army, now 5-7-2, overcame a two-goal deficit to tie the game but lost its final game before Term-Ending Exams.
Jonathan Gehrt had two assists and Andy Starczewski posted one assist for Army.
Army goalie Rob Tadazak made 42 saves to keep the Black Knights close.
Army head coach Brian Riley is all too familiar with the Merrimack campus as his only daughter, Danielle, is a sophomore at the New England institution. In addition, during Army's off weekend last week, the Riley family made the trip to North Andover, Mass., to watch the eldest son, Jack, who is a rookie for Mercyhurst, play at Merrimack. It marked the first collegiate game Brian had seen his son play.
ABOUT THE WARRIORS
Merrimack is coming off its first win of the season, a 5-2 victory over Mercyhurst of the AHA last Saturday night at home. The Warriors opened the series with a 3-2 setback against the Lakers on Friday night and also dropped an early-season series at Denver (L, 1-0; L, 4-0). In Saturday's victory, senior forward Mike Collins (4A) and junior defenseman Dan Kolomatis (1G, 2A) combined for seven points. Starting goaltender Jordan Tibbett played all 60 minutes and made 35 saves.
Merrimack posted a 15-17-6 record last season and lost to Boston University in the Hockey East quarterfinals. Included in the Warriors' 2012-13 wins was a 4-2 decision against visiting Army on Dec. 11.
With an average age of 21 years old, Army is the youngest hockey team in the Atlantic Hockey Association. By class, the Black Knights are the second-youngest team in the country with a combined 21 freshmen and sophomores. Only Penn State has more with 22 underclassmen.
Army makes its third-straight road trip to open the season, visiting Connecticut on Friday, Nov. 1, for the Atlantic Hockey Association opener. The Black Knights will make their home debut the following night, hosting Bentley on Nov. 2 at Tate Rink.