Photo Credit:Mady Salvani-Army West Point
With their exhibition against Royal Military College canceled, Armt West Point had to adjust. As Head Coach Brian Riley said “We practiced Friday in like a simulated game situation.” Eric Butte and Colin Bilek were the two standouts from each team that had two forward likes on it.
This time of year, Army also can’t benefit from partial scholarships with depth. That is they can’t take on extra players like most teams teams can. Riley can’t simply offer walk on spots to extra players to provide more depth as he’s limited by what the allowances he is given is. Army has held strong as he said, “We’ve been fortunate that the numbers have worked for us.”
As Riley said of this game against Sacred Heart “Tuesday games are kind of rare.” He is proud of his team for “ just seeing the team come together and believing that they can win and come together as a team, my hope is that you’re playing your best coming down the stretch.”
On the Pioneers Riley said , “I think the biggest challenge Sacred Heart presents is its skill level, when you play these skilled teams you have to be really good without the puck.”
On their coach , C. J. Marottolo Riley added a lot, he said “ first of all, C.J. is just a great person. I’ve gotten to know him over the years now. Most importantly I just think he’s an outstanding human being. I just enjoy every time we play getting to spend time with him.”
This year Sacred Heart has added a wealth of graduate transfers that “make them really really good.” Riley also said “ sometimes it’s not who you’re playing but when you’re playing them. They have talent in every position. At goal they have depth, they have a defense corps that can defend and put up offense and up front it’s Sacred Heart.”
Away from the challenge Army faces , Riley did take the time to praise AIC and their work this year for themselves and for Atlantic Hockey. He said regarding what his pupil Eric Lang and what his AIC team is doing this season, elevating themselves and Atlantic Hockey at large. “ There they go again… right on cue.. a lot of people may have been thinking that they were down right at the start… right now they are proving that if you want to get to the top of this league you’re going to have to go them.”