Photo Credit: Mady Salvani-Army West Point Athetics
The third period for Army West Point showed positives. They outshot Penn State 12-7, and forced the Nittany Lions to defend more than they had in the first couple of periods. However, the Black Knights mustered one goal in that last period and could not overcome a start marred by bad penalties and missed assignments. Gavin Abric had a solid night in net despite conceding five goals. The stalwart Army netminder made 32 saves on the evening, and kept Army in the game against a team with a win over North Dakota in an NHL building. The start doomed the Black Knights, who play a style of game that makes defending work well, yet at times can allow teams that score first to attack more as Army does not want to get into track meets against the opposition.
This game from start to finish was a track meet, to the speed and personality of Penn State.
Riley said the following of the game itself, and had a lot of thoughts on the game , saying “We were greateful to have an opportunity to play a game. We in the second period looked like a team that hadnt played for a while, if youre going to beat a team like Penn State you cant give up too many odd man rushes.” Of Penn State Riley added “you can’t shrink the rink… I thought the first period and a half we were turning too many pucks over and they were off to the races.”
“Playing a team like Penn State will only help us. We had to play this game today,I truly believe we owe it to the players to play.”
On why he kept Gavin Abric in, ” I just have a lot of confidence in him, he made some big saves in the first two periods.” Riley is, like Eric Lang of AIC, not a fan of pulling goalies as a way to jumpstart a team. Abric made 32 superb saves on the evening.
Riley did praise Joey Baez for his efforts. “I dont think it was his most effective game but then he gets on the scoresheet, I would like to see him shoot the puck more.” Riley mentioned a chance to shoot in the second, that Baez turned into an extra pass.
“We’re going to have to be better tomorrow.”
Riley closed with talking about Marshall Plunkett who got a point tonight and has been a steadying force for his team this season, saying “Plunks is a guy who has very good hands, a good hockey sense, and a good shot.”