Army West Point’s Junior Anthony Firriolo is off to a record start for a defenseman under Brian Riley, with 4 goals in the first 7 games is the best start to the season. The only other defenseman to come close is current assistant coach Zach McKelvie(Coach Z). Anthony said that attending West Point is a tremendous opportunity both while attending and after graduation, “There’s nothing bad to say about the program.” While not having immediate family that where in any branch of service, he has some grandparents that served.
Talking with the coaching staff about Firriolo. They said the reason that they recruited him was because of what he is showing right now, offensive skills and awareness. Coach Z also said that “we knew right away that he is a top power play guy at this level. We felt he was just scratching the surface in what he could do and the impact he could have.” However, Army doesn’t just recruit players because they are good hockey players. They recruit young men that are going to put in the work every day, “We got to know him, we knew he loved the game, wanted to improve and be a part of a program that he could have a positive impact on and one that would have a positive impact on his life as well.”
We got the chance to sit down and talk with Anthony last week and when asked what Coach Z mentorship meant to him he said “Zach’s one of the most knowledgeable guys in the game. He has been a tremendous mentor for me and a huge part of my success” Firriolo, played 22 games in the 2020-2021 season with 5 goals, 8 assists for 13 points is on track to beat that this season. He said the biggest thing that learned from Coach Z is that “sticking with it and not giving up on yourself” is the best way to go about life in and outside of Hockey because “when things start going your way all bets are off.”
Coach Z had a lot to say about Firriolo’s work ethic and what a special player he is. “Anthony is just a great member of our team for more than just hockey, he’s a really good young man. He cares and loves his teammates, he has a great attitude, he works hard in all areas, and he is just a good person. It’s been a lot of fun to be around him and watch him grow as a player, leader and person.” Anthony had a goal this summer to get stronger on and off the ice, which is exactly what he did.
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