Yesterday, the Black Knights of Army West Point again showed their depth. 11 players got at least a point, and Trevin Kozlowski secured his first shutout of the season with a 20 save effort, and the Black Knights did what they needed to do in order to secure a 5-0 vicotry over the Sharks of Long Island University. Hobey Baker Award Candidate Colin Bilek contributed an assist and a goal on the evening to spur the victory up front. While his 14th goal of the season came as many have, on a perfect release before anyone playing against him could counter it, the best play he made was on his assist. He was able to turnover the Sharks along the wall and find a wide open Mitch Machlitt who had all of time and space he needed to wire one past Garett Metcalf. The final goal of the evening was special as Jake Felker scored his first career goal on a redirect off a Thomas Farell pass. Now, the Black Knights, with a win, would firmly put themselves on the national tournament bubble for an at large selection, given that they have not lost a game in regulation since. January 6 to league champion American International College.
There is still a pitfall that awaits this group today when they play in their Senior Night matchup against these Sharks in a few hours. They lost to this same Long Island group on Jnuary 16 in overtime after they played the better game the night before. Brett Riley will have his Sharks ready tonight, because as of now, this is the final game these Sharks will play in their first season. The chance for Riley’s group to spoil the bubble hopes of this Army team, coached by his uncle (Brian is Brett’s uncle). In addition, despite not being in the NCAA tournament picture, the senior class for Long Island will be playing to do three things in some form or fashion, and they are the following, they all want to end their careers in college hockey on a win, show off to professional scouts looking for free agents to sign,and if any of them are able to stay another season, to show to Brett and his staff how they can help his developing group next season,. All winter sports student-athletes are allowed an extra season of eligibility at the Division One Level, and some Sharks may want to avail themselves of that, if Brett and his staff will have them back.
Now, back to Army, lead by Head Coach Brian Riley. He and his group did something special for Brett and his senior class. They held a senior night ceremony for the four seniors that was all Brian’s descision. He thought of this with enough time to have the proper presentation,and worked to make sure the streaming of the festivities happened so LIU parents could see that moment. The Sharks have not had a home game against a Division One opponent this season, and Riley brought the idea up to his nephew as a matter of settled fact. He said to Brett “hey we are gonna honor your seniors.”When asked why, his response was simple, “every senior that plays college hockey deserves that moment.” Every one of Brian’s players backed the idea, and Brian said of it in total that of the sportsmanship his group showed for this moment, ” when it comes down to it we are all playing the sport that we love.”
Tonight, the 10 seniors (8 players and 2 student managers) will be honored for their years of dedication to the program. Riley is incredibly proud of all that they have done for Army West Point Hockey, and hopes that a lot more is to come for them. They already have one more home series in 13 days to look forward to at Tate Rink. Riley hopes that their Army West Point Hockey Careers finish at PPG Paints Arena, at the Frozen Four.
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