Dec. 26, 2011
Army Hockey Game Notes
WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Army hockey team will play return to action, Thursday and Friday at the 19th annual Toyota/UConn Classic in Storrs, Conn.
The Black Knights, idle since Dec. 10, will play the host Huskies at 7:15 p.m. on Dec. 29 after the Rensselaer and University of Massachusetts Lowell contest at 4:05 p.m. The losing teams will play in the consolation game the next day at 4:05 p.m. with the title game to follow.
Army enters the tournament 1-8-6 overall and 1-6-4 in Atlantic Hockey Association games after a 3-1 loss at Holy Cross before a brief break for Term Ending Exams and the holidays.
Connecticut, which beat Army 5-0 at Tate Rink on Oct. 14, is 5-9-2 overall and 4-6-1 in league contests.
Rensselaer (3-13-0) and UMass Lowell (10-5-0) will open the tournament at the Freitias Ice Forum.
TOURNEY RULES: Since a winner needs to be determined, shootouts will be required during the Toyota/UConn Classic.
In Thursday's games, a five-minute overtime session will be utilized before a shootout. In the consolation game, five minutes of overtime will be used and if no one scores the game will be declared a tie. In the title game, a 20-minute overtime stanza will be followed by a shootout.
BIG VOICE: Rene Rancourt, the voice of the Boston Bruins, is expected to sing the National Anthem prior to the Army vs. Connecticut game. The legendary singer will also be available to meet fans between games on Thursday in the rink lobby.
RAISING AWARENESS: The Army Hockey team will help raise prostate cancer awareness with a "House of Blues" promotion on Friday, Jan. 6.
The Black Knights will face Atlantic Hockey Association rival Canisius at 7:05 p.m. and a bevy of events are planned to raise awareness.
The first 2,000 fans through the turnstiles will be presented with bracelets with the first 1,000 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.
"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 was 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."
Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.goARMYsports.com, in person at Holleder Center Box Office or by calling 1-877-TIX-ARMY.
BACK AT STORRS: This season mark's Army's fourth appearance in the Toyota/UConn Classic and its first since 2007 when it lost to Connecticut 4-1 and tied Brown in overtime, 1-1.
SLEDDING ALONG: The Army hockey team continued its tradition of playing the Long Island RoughRiders sled hockey team. After the Dec. 3 3-3 overtime tie with Mercyhurst, Army traded 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 marked the fifth year Army has played Long Island.
GOALIE AND SCHOLAR: Army junior goalie Ryan Leets was presented with his Atlantic Hockey Association Scholar-Athlete of the Year trophy on Dec. 2 prior to a game against Mercyhurst. League commissioner Robert DeGregorio, Dean of West Point's Academic Board Gen. Timothy Trainor, Army's Senior Executive Associate Athletic Director Bob Beretta and Army hockey head coach Brian Riley presented Leets with his award for posting the top grade-point average among league goalies during the 2010-11 season. It is the second straight award for Leets.
IN MEMORY: A ceremonial face-off was held prior to the Dec. 3 game against Mercyhurst with captains from both teams and members of Rob Ross' family.
Ross, a 2008 Army graduate who was a four-year contributor and key member of the Atlantic Hockey Association regular-season championship squad, died in an accident over the summer. Ross was known for his quick smile and competitiveness.
His parents, Debbie and Jim, his sister Katie and brothers Jim and Tom were on the ice for a ceremony along with a number of former players who returned for the occasion.
WRITER'S BLOCK: Senior Bill Day is authoring an on-line blog, chronicling the 2011-12 hockey season. Dubbed "Day and Knights," it is available at www.goARMYsports.com and updated frequently.
ABOUT THE BLACK KNIGHTS: Army is now 1-8-6 overall and 1-6-4 in conference games after a 3-1 loss at Holy Cross on Dec. 10.
Army is averaging 1.8 goals per game and allowing 3.3 with six power play goals in 62 chances. It has allowed opponents 12 goals in 67 opportunities.
Andy Starczewski leads the team in goals (six) and points (nine) while Mike Hull has four goals and four assists. Maurice Alvarez has posted four goals and three assists while Mac Lalor (three goals, three assists), Zak Zaremba (two goals and four assists), Marcel Alvarez (one goal, five assists) and Danny Colvin (one goal, five assists) also among the team scoring leaders.
Ryan Leets has played in 10 games in goal with a 3.39 goals against average and .903 save percentage while Rob Tadazak shows a 2.98 goals against average and .925 save percentage in six games.
ABOUT THE HUSKIES: Connecticut enters its tournament 5-9-2 overall and 4-6-1 in AHA games.
The Huskies are averaging 2.7 goals per game and allowing 2.9. Their power play ranks fourth nationally with a 25.8% conversion rate (17 goals in 66 chances) while they have allowed opponents 17 power play goals in 78 opportunities (21.8%).
Cole Schneider leads the team with 12 assists and 17 points while Brant Harris has 11 goals and four assists. Billy Latta has 10 assists and three goals with Alex Gerke chipping in with four goals and nine assists.
Garrett Bartus has played all 16 games in goal with a 2.67 goals against average and .923 save percentage.
ABOUT THE ENGINEERS: RPI comes into the tournament with a 3-13-0 mark.
The Engineers are averaging 1.25 goals per game and allowing 2.94. They have scored seven power play goals in 75 chances while allowing opponents 11 goals in 88 opportunities.
Nick Bailen leads the team in scoring with three goals and five assists while Brock Higgs paces the team with seven assists. Ryan Haggerty and Jacob Laliberte each have six points.
Bryce Merriam has played in 12 games in goal with a .907 save percentage and 2.65 goals against average.
Army has not played RPI since posting a shocking 2-1 win on Oct. 31, 2009.
ABOUT THE RIVER HAWKS: UMass Lowell is among the hottest teams in the country and ranked 17th nationally in the latest uscho.com poll.
The River Hawks are 10-5-0 overall and averaging 3.4 goals per game while allowing 2.5. They have scored 18 power play goals in 79 chances (22.8%) and allowing nine goals in 58 opponent opportunities (15.5%).
Matt Ferreira has a team-best 15 points on seven goals and eight assists while Riley Wetmore has seven goals and seven assists. Chad Ruhwedel leads the squad with 12 assists and two goals.
Doug Carr has started 11 goals in goal with a .934 save percentage and 1.82 goals against average.
Army has not played UMass Lowell since a 4-0 River Hawks victory on Nov. 24, 2001.
FRESHMAN STARTS: Freshman goalie Rob Tadazak has played in six games with five starts with his most impressive game against Brown.
Tadazak made a career-best 53 saves to help Army to a 1-1 overtime draw with Brown on Nov. 19. He made 15 saves in the first period, 18 in the second, 16 in the third and five in overtime to move his career record to 0-2-1. Tadazak allowed a second-period goal and then helped Army kill off all eight Brown power play opportunities.
He is the first Army goalie to make 50 saves since Jay Clark turned away 56 against No. 2 Miami on Jan. 3, 2009.
THREE TIMES FOR STARZ: Army junior forward Andy Starczewski was named the Travel Team USA Co-Player of the Week after registering his first collegiate hat trick at Ritter Arena against RIT Nov. 5.
After RIT jumped out to a 1-0 lead, Starczewski scored three straight goals in the first and second periods in an eventual 5-3 Army loss.
Starczewski scored his first goal with less than three minutes remaining in the first period and then scored twice in the first five minutes of the second period to increase his season total to four goals.
Starczewski recorded Army's first hat trick since Feb. 18, 2011 when Mark Dube accomplished the feat opposite AIC.
GENTELMAN AND A SCHOLAR: Army senior forward Kyle Maggard isn't only a volunteer in the community, he also excels in the classroom and has been selected to receive the prestigious Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar award.
He will pursue a Masters in Philosophy in Engineering for Sustainable Development at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. With a focus on sustainable fresh water supply, he hopes to use his studies to bring clean, fresh water to millions of people in developing countries that go without it every day. In addition, as a future engineer officer in the Army, Kyle will have the opportunity to use his studies in areas of the world where sustainable engineering solutions are absolutely crucial to the long-term stability and peace of conflict-torn regions. Sponsored by the city of Columbus, Ohio, Kyle will also be acting as an ambassador of goodwill between the city of Columbus and city of Cambridge in order to strengthen international relationships and promote cultural understanding.
NEW ENGLAND STARTERS: Army's starting line-up against #13 Merrimack in North Andover, Mass., was a mostly New England group.
Freshman Josh Richards (Lee, N.H.), was at left wing with senior Mike Hull (Gross Pointe Woods, Mich.) and senior Mark Dube (Billerica, Mass.) at forwards. Junior Cheyne Rocha (Rye, N.H.) and freshman Mac Lalor (Needham, Mass.) were on defense. Freshman Rob Tadazak (LaPeer, Mich.) was in goal.
PLAYING AGAINST THE BEST: Army played three nationally ranked teams in its first four games of the 2011 season. Following games against #11 Union and #13 Merrimack, Army tied #14 Colgate, 2-2, at the Cape Cod Classic in Hyannis, Mass.
THE CAPTAINS: Army has a pair of captains this season as well as an alternate.
Senior defenseman Marcel Alvarez, an alternate a season ago, wears the "C" on his sweater as does senior forward Mike Hull. Senior forward Alex McRae, coming off an injury-riddled 2010-11, serves as an alternate captain.
NEIGHBORHOOD KNIGHTS: Seeking to give back to the community, the Army hockey team has formed "Neighborhood Knights," to volunteer their time.
Led by Kyle Maggard, 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 in May 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 Maggard, players Jack Barnes, Alex McRae, Cheyne Rocha, Jon Bobb and Brian Schultz as well as manager Will Rust spent a Saturday cleaning up.
"As players, we have been talking about getting involved in our community," said Maggard, an Engineering Management major with a 3.96 grade-point average. "The community welcomes us as cadets, athletes and mostly as friends and we felt it was important to help. We all enjoy our `Skate With The Black Knights' and playing the Long Island RoughRiders but we wanted to develop something which showed our program's appreciation for the community."
In addition to work at Brooks Park, a group of skaters assisted in the Special Olympics. Maggard, Bobb, Barnes, McRae, Rocha, Schultz, Mike Hull, Marcel Alvarez, John Clark, Bill Day, Pat Ryan, Anthony Cadieux, Danny Colvin, Mark Dube, Mike Henderson, Cody Ikkala, Bret Larson, Chris Spracklen, Dax Lauwers, Mike Santee, Bryant Skarda and Andy Starczewski helped with checking runners in, organizing and facilitating races, timing events and much more.
"I think I can speak for the entire team when I say we had a blast at the Special Olympics," said Maggard. "We were humbled and honored to work with athletes who truly know what it means to be a winner. We were lucky enough to interact with hundreds of athletes in a variety of activities. There is no doubt the Army hockey team will be involved with the Special Olympics next year. It was a great day for our players and we met some unbelievable athletes we won't soon forget."
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.
"Our vision is that the Neighborhood Knights will continue to grow as a program and it can be passed on each year," said Maggard. "We want to establish a legacy of the hockey program giving back and make serving our community a frequent and long-standing practice. As athletes, we know the great impact a healthy and clean environment can have on a community, especially on the development of children."
BRUINED: 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 a pair of exhibition games with the Bruins before moving to Providence where he has appeared in 19 games and has two points.
McKelvie registered his first professional point with a goal against the Manchester Monarchs on Nov. 5.
WELCOME BACK: Army has a new face behind the bench, sort of, in Mike Warde. An assistant who spent four seasons at Army, Warde is back at West Point after a stint at Alabama-Huntsville.
Warde was the top assistant and recruiting coordinator for the Chargers while also coaching special teams. At Army, he will play a large role in the Black Knights' recruiting efforts and video analysis while working with the team on and off the ice.
SCHEDULE CHALLENGES: Army will face as many as four teams who qualified for the NCAA Tournament during the 2011-12 season.
In addition to Union and Merrimack, Army will also face Air Force (lost to Yale, 2-1, in overtime) with the possibility of playing Rensselaer (lost to North Dakota, 6-0) at the Toyota UConn/Classic on December 30.
BRINGING BACK RMC: Army against the Royal Military College was among the top rivalries in collegiate hockey. Intense, physical games with pride on the line marked the series. Playing for the "Challenge Trophy," the Black Knights have waged some intense contests against its military brethren from Canada.
The series celebrated 75 years during the 2005-06 season but was halted a year later.
Now, the series will resume. Army and RMC are scheduled to play once in each of the next three seasons with the first two games slated for West Point's Tate Rink.
Army, which leads the series against RMC 39-29-7, will put its 25-12-1 mark at West Point on the line Feb. 4, 2012. The 2013 contest will be played in the last week of January with the 2014 contest set for Kingston, Ontario.
The Army and RMC rivalry was first played in 1923, a 3-0 RMC victory. The original game was started by then West Point Superintendent Douglas McArthur to foster bonds between the service academies.
TO THE PLAYOFFS: The Atlantic Hockey Association will feature a different format for the playoffs this season.
All 12 teams will qualify for the postseason with teams seeded based on the results of the regular-season standings. The top four teams will receive a bye in the first round. The first round match-ups will include the No. 5 seed hosting the No. 12 seed, the No. 6 seed hosting the No. 11 seed, the No. 7 seed hosting the No. 10 seed and the No. 8 seed hosting the No. 9 seed. This series will be a best two-out-of-three and will take place March 2-4.
The quarterfinal round will also be a best two-out-of-three series, which will take place March 9-11. The top four seeds will host the four teams advancing from the first round, with re-seeding taking place.
The quarterfinal winners will advance to Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y., where the semifinals and Championship games will be held on Friday and Saturday, March 16 and 17, respectively. The four teams advancing will be re-seeded. The winner of the Atlantic Hockey Championship will earn the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
AS SEEN ON TV: For the ninth consecutive year, the Army hockey team will play on national television.
CBS Sports Network announced that the Black Knights' game against Air Force on Friday, Jan. 20, has been chosen as one of its two games that will be part of the Atlantic Hockey Association package.
To accommodate television, the start time of the service academy showdown has been pushed back to 7:30 p.m.
Last season, Army's game at Air Force was broadcast nationally. The Black Knights have had at least one of their games shown on national television each of the past nine years.
OH BROTHER: For the fifth straight season, Army will have a pair of brothers in the roster. Following in the footsteps of Chris and Joe Spracklen and Jay and John Clark, both Marcel and Maurice Alvarez will don the Army sweater this season.
Marcel is a senior captain and defenseman and may be paired with his freshman brother and fellow defenseman during the season.
Joe Spracklen was a goaltender while Chris was a forward. Jay Clark also played in net with his brother John, a senior member of the team, playing defense.
FROZEN IN FLORIDA: The Frozen Four will be held in Tampa, Fla., this season at the St. Pete Times Forum, April 5 and 7.
NCAA Regional games will be held at the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Conn.; the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wis.; the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass.; and the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn.
ICE BREAKER: The Army hockey team will be among the four teams competing at the 2012 Ice Breaker College Hockey Tournament at Sprint Center, it was announced during a joint press conference by the Kansas City Sports Commission and College Hockey, Inc.
The Ice Breaker Tournament traditionally makes the start of the college hockey season and the 2012 season will begin with Army, Maine, Nebraska-Omaha and Notre Dame.
The 16th annual Ice Breaker Tournament will be held Oct. 12-13, 2012, and marks Army's second appearance in the event.
Tournament tickets are available at sprintcenter.com, Sprint Center Box Office, Ticketmaster locations and charge by phone at 800-745-3000. Group discount tickets will be available for charge by phone at 816-949-7177 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Army last played in the Ice Breaker in 2009-10 when the Black Knights dropped a 6-4 game to Nebraska-Omaha and a 5-2 setback to St. Lawrence in Omaha, Neb.
ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE: The Army hockey team continues to shine academically and remained the top men's NCAA team at West Point. Twenty-one of 30 members of the team (including managers) made the Dean's List with a grade-point average of at-least 3.0 following the 2011 spring semester.
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.
SUCCESS IN SPRINGFIELD: Former Army hockey head coach Rob Riley, the older brother of coach Brian Riley, is in his second season as the head coach of the AHL's Springfield Falcons.
Riley led the Columbus Blue Jackets' top affiliate to a 35-40-2-3 record last season while the squad is 11-11-1 this season.
Rob Riley was Army's head coach from 1986-2004 before turning the program over to his brother. Rob won 257 games during his 18 seasons before switching careers. He returned to coaching in 2010 with the Falcons.
FAMILY TIES: Army junior defenseman Cody Ikkala and his younger brother, Cole, a forward at Union, had a chance to renew acquaintances at Tate Rink on Oct. 8. Last season, with their parents in the stands at Messa Rink, both Ikkala brothers were in the starting lineup when Army played at Union on Dec. 11. It was the first career start for Cody Ikkala. This season, both players logged plenty of ice time in an 8-1 Union victory.
WATCH IT: 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.
WEST POINT CONNECTIONS: Two hockey players are following in their father's footsteps as West Point graduates.
Senior Pat Ryan's father, Jack, is a 1970 graduate of the Academy and his older brother, Will, was a member of the Class of 2009. Senior Bill Day's father, Tom, is a member of the Class of 1978.
COACHES POLL: The Army hockey team was picked to finish eighth in the Atlantic Hockey Association preseason vote of head coaches.
Army received 51 votes in the poll in which coaches could not vote for their own team.
Defending regular season champion RIT was tabbed first, followed by Air Force and Holy Cross. RIT and Air Force each received five first-place votes while Holy Cross collected the other two.
Niagara was chosen fourth, followed by Connecticut, Robert Morris, Mercyhurst, Army, Canisius, Bentley, Sacred Heart and American International.
FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: The official Army Athletic Association twitter page can be found at www.twitter.com/ArmyAthletics. Score updates, links to game notes and feature stories and breaking news are all "tweeted."
LAST TIME OUT (vs. Holy Cross, 12/10/11) - WORCESTER, Mass. - Freshman Mac Lalor, playing in his hometown, scored a short-handed goal but Holy Cross netted two power play goals and beat Army, 3-1, in an Atlantic Hockey Association contest at the Hart Center.
Lalor, from Needham, Mass., was listed with the starting lineup and then netted his third goal of the season. Army head coach Brian Riley also opted to start Mark Dube who is from Billerica, Mass.
Holy Cross, which wore camouflage-themed jerseys on Military Appreciation Day at the Hart Center, scored two power play goals and one short-handed tally and improved to 8-7-0 overall and 6-4-0 in league games.
CAPE OPENS: Army has participated in the Cape Cod Classic in each of the past two years and played in front of sold out crowds at the Hyannis Youth and Community Center opposite Colgate.
In 2011-12 Army skated to a 2-2 tie on the heels of a 3-1 loss in the first game of the season.
The 2010-11 contest was the first Division I hockey game played on Cape Cod and both games have been announced as sellout.
Former Army hockey head coach Jack Riley, a resident of Cape Cod, has dropped the ceremonial puck each of the past two seasons.
SEE YOU IN FEBRUARY: The Oct. 29 storm that blanketed the Northeast forced postponement of Army's schedule game at Connecticut.
Army attempted to make the trek to Storrs, Conn., but dangerous conditions forced the team to return to West Point.
The game will now be played Feb. 7 at 7:05 p.m.