(Credit: Colorado Post Gazette)
Army hockey takes on the Air Force Falcons in a 2 game set this weekend in Tate Rink at West Point.
The Seasons so far
Army is coming off a 2 game sweep of Mercyhurst in Pennsylvania, winning 5-1 on Friday, and 3-2 in OT on Saturday. Army is currently 4-2-1 on the season, and are on a 3 game winning streak, and have been hot after stumbling out of the gate. The Black Knights started the season 0-2-0, dropping games to Union hockey and Uconn by a combined score of 9-3. Since, the team is 4-0-0-1, only tying Robert Morris 2-2 in that stretch.
Air Force is coming off a 1-1 split at home against Niagara University, losing 5-0 on Thursday before bouncing back for a 2-1 win on Friday. They are 2-4 on the season, posting a 7-3 win over Canisus College, and a 2-1 win over Niagara University. The season has been up and down for the Falcons, although they are 2-2 in their last 4, after starting the season 0-2-0-1, the tie being a 2-2 contest against the University of Alberta.
Last season’s memories
The regular season belonged to Army last season, who posted back to back wins at Air Force Academy on November 3rd, and November 4th, by scores of 2-0 and 3-1 respectively. The teams would not meet again until the Atlantic Hockey Quarterfinals, where the Falcons had the last laugh over the Black Knights, as Air Force knocked Army out in 3 games. Game 1 went to the Falcons by a score of 5-3, but Army bounced back in game 2 with a 1-0 win, with Cole Burns stopping 33 shots to shutout Air Force. Ultimately, in game 3 the Falcons would take the series with a 1-0 OT win, with Tyler Ledford putting home the GWG in the extra frame, and Falcons goalkeeper Billy Christopoulos stopping all 15 Black Knights shots. The Falcons went on to win the AHC Championship with a 5-1 win over Robert Morris.
The Bottom Line
Army has looked excellent since a rough start to the season, and wants to keep that trend going against a heated rival, and get revenge for their playoff loss last year. Air Force is struggling with an up and down season so far, and is likely looking to these games to spark the team back into the dominant form they had during their championship run last season. With Army also playing Air Force in football, the pressure is on to Beat Air Force on turf and on ice.
Leading Goal Scorers:
Army: Zach Evancho (4)
Air Force: Evan Freno (3); Kieran Durgan (3)
Army: Dalton MacAfee (2G, 7A, 9Pts); Alex Wilkinson (2G, 7A, 9Pts)
Air Force: Evan Freno (3G, 2A, 5Pts); Matt Koch (0G, 5A, 5Pts)
Army: Trevin Kozlowski (5 GS, 4-0-1, 1.85 GAA, .928Sv%); Jared Demsey (2GS, 0-2-0, 4.80 GAA, .840Sv%)
Air Force: Billy Christopoulos (6GS, 2-4-0, 3.31 GAA, .879Sv%); Zach LaRocgue (0GS, 0-0-0, 4.97 GAA, .843Sv%)
Army currently has 46 penalties for a total of 133 penalty minutes, while the Falcons only have 28 penalties for 56 minutes. 3 Black Knights have a major penalty to their name, while Air Force has a total of 0. Army’s power play if given the chance has been lethal so far, scoring on 9 of 37 opportunities for a 24.3% conversion rate. The Falcon’s power play isn’t anything to sneeze at, scoring on 5 of their 28 opportunities for a 17.8% conversion rate. Army’s penalty kill has shown up admirably, but is not bulletproof at 30 for 35 and an 85.7% kill rate, so the Black Knights will need to stay disciplined if they want to give themselves the best chance to down Air Force.