Photo Credit: Mady Salvani- Army West Point Athletics
One of Army West Point Hockey Head Coach Brian Riley’s most common quotes is that “there’s good ties and there’s bad ties.”
Today, the Black Knights battled for a good tie. They overcame two two goal deficits and used a determined Daniel Haider tally to provide the equalizer. Despite having a power play in overtime against the Engineers they could not find paydirt to get the game winner.
Riley had a lot to like about the game today and his team’s effort. As he said “there was just a lot of belief.”
Riley was also proud of a lot, saying that “the thing that I’m most proud of is .. coming into today’s game in the third period not sure if we’d have the legs to do whatever we need to do today and the third period was our best period all weekend, huge credit to our guys.”
Going forward Riley would absolutely schedule non conference games with less than 24 hours in between start times, especially to give his group another experience in a packed Tate Rink. Riley said, “we would do this 100 times again if we had the chance to.” Riley and his group are always up for the challenge this presents. “I’m just really proud of the guys.”
Riley praised Marshall Plunkett’s near power play goal saying “ Plunks has great offensive skills” as he pinched down to put the puck home. The senior defender is showing all phases of his game this season as in 16 less games than in his plebe year he already has two more points than his career high. He is providing depth scoring from the blue line that makes teams pay for matching up against Anthony Firriolo’s pair.
Riley also praised Colin Bilek as a “ lead by example guy.” Bileks goal put Army within one and his energy and example drives the entire team forward to better things on a daily basis.
Going back into conference play, Riley was succinct as non conference games are done. He said “Every game is a big game now” in terms of standings points. With AIC’s sweep of Air Force , Army now stays home to face a Canisius group that ended their season early last year with a lot of the principles in that game coming back this year. This series could flesh out who will be battling with Bentley and AIC for Atlantic Hockey supremacy
On Canisius style wise, Riley sees Trevor Large’s group as having elements of Penn State and RPI. He said “ I think Penn State was a transition and fast team , RPI is a structured and heavy team, I think Canisius has a little bit of both. Trevor has spent time with me but he’s also spent a lot of time with Dave Smith.” Smith was Large’s former boss at Canisius before Large became the leader there. The two games Army just played will help give them good teachable things on video to adjust for to face a top team in this conference in less than a week.