Photo Credit:Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography
Brett Callahan described the tough 4-3 win over Army West Point well. He said “it wasnt perfect but our whole attitude has been to stick with it.” The game winning goal scorer in the third period credited Chris Theodore for getting the puck to the net and giving him to put it past Gavin Abric who made 43 saves tonight and nearly willed his Black Knights to a win. They were less by two Anthony Firriolo goals and played a physical brand of hockey all night. The thing that changed the direction of the game for AIC in the second period was how they got shots on net.
That is, they followed up point shots with more rebound and high danger chances overall that lead to more pucks finding the back of the net. Callahan’s goal ultimately was the difference in a great game where both teams had their moments of brilliance.
Going forward , Callahan was direct, saying of AIC’s first win, “ now we know what it takes to win, and there’s no time to wait around.”
AIC Assistant Coach Matthew Woodard described the night saying of playing Army West Point, “ it’s always going to be a battle, and he was right.” A scoreless first period where AIC controlled time and space preceded them going down 2-0 early in the second stanza. Luckily, the bench seems to have a saying for playing through adversity “ never let them know.” That is this team tries to keep an even mindset on the bench regardless of score and stick to their game , which is playing with the same brand of physical play they always have, but now complimented by a skill presence that has grown for Eric Lang and his staff over the past few seasons. The result wasn’t pretty and the staff has some things to work on for the finale in West Point tomorrow night, but one thing that did change was the penalty kill. The first one on which they conceded a power play goal featured AIC chasing everything and conceding too much to the Black Knights. Woodard noted that the team had to win more defensive zone faceoffs which they did on the one they killed later on. If they “ make them earn their setup” as he said, and play aggressive , they can draw from the penalty kill going forward. It seemed to work on the last one as it was the only penalty either team killed on the evening.
For both teams, the finale provides opportunity. For Army West Point it once again gives them a chance to take Atlantic Hockey points in a finale after they lose a winnable opener. For AIC they have a chance to add to their win column and try and convert more of the chances they will get on the evening.
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