Photo Credit: Mady Salvani- Army West Point
Tonight, Army West Point’s Hockey team lead from the front for most of the evening. The group went ahead on a John Kerranen power play goal , and followed that up with a Ricky Lyle tip home to make things 2-0. The Purple Eagles of Niagara played a better game than they did a night ago. They forced Gavin Abric to have to make 40 saves. The third period featured a bar down rocket goal from Colin Bilek and an empty netter from Anthony Firriolo to provide the final margin. The only Purple Eagles goal came on a wrap around that went off another Black Knights and past Abric in the second period.
There were a lot of things that went into this one. Hear from Associate Head Coach Zach McKelvie on some key questions with his answers after this one. The Black Knights have to now get ready to face a Bentley team that is one of the faster teams in Atlantic Hockey, and a team with big non conference wins on their ledger, including wins over Ohio State and Boston College.
How much has Ricky Lyle improved from plebe to sophomore year , and how has he improved?
“Ricky has made a big jump, the game is slowing down for him and he is creating scoring chances every night. He has been huge on the kill. He brings so much energy and consistency every game.”
What did you see out of Sacco and Bohlin tonight ?
“Both Josh and Michael managed the game well. It’s hard to play in the spot they are in with ice time so sporadic but both did a good job of playing simple/smart hockey.”
Talk about how big the pair of Smyth and Frost have been for you guys this weekend.
“Smythy has been really solid recently, he is a stabilizing presence and very reliable defensively. Frosty has an elite shot and is gaining confidence each game, he will continue to grow as he plays more. Those guys are great together when they use their size to pressure the opposing defense.”
What are you most proud of your team for in their play today?
“We were resilient tonight. We really didn’t have a great game and made some decisions that gave Niagara opportunity to keep it close. But when you can weather their push and grind it out on the road it shows a lot of resiliency.”
How was Gavin able to keep you guys in it in the second when they had their best push of the night?
He is steady…very even keel demeanor which gives everyone confidence. He has the confidence to keep teams at bay which is what he did in the second.”
Do you think Anthony Firriolo is having a coming out party similar to what Colin did as a junior last year?
“Yes…he put in so much work this summer and it’s paying off. Coach Riley kept saying back in August, Ant if going to have a big year and so far he is.”
As systems driven as you guys are, how in general do you prepare for a run and gun team like Bentley?
“Bentley is well coached and very skilled, they will be one of the toughest challenges to date of this season. They compete hard and to beat them you have to bring you A game. Number one thing in this league to prepare to win is to make sure your compete level is high and then go from there, so that’s where we will start this week.”
Who were some other standouts for you guys tonight?
“Johnny K was great this weekend. Our PP had a good weekend because he was winning every draw. Our PK was good this weekend because he was great positionally and on draws…he was definitely a difference maker this weekend.”
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