Army 1 AIC 0: More on the game of the year in Atlantic Hockey

Photo Credit: Mady Salvani-Army West Point Athletics

Army West Point Hockey Head Coach Brian Riley was blunt with his team after their Thursday loss. He said “We are as a team guaranteed seven games.” After the Thursday game, Riley added “we can’t be coming out flat on one night and then ( the next night) flip the switch, anything short of an A game for us was not going to be enough, I think our guys took that to heart.” Eric Butte scored the only goal, on the power play, in the first period to provide the 1-0 margin in the win for Army West Point.

Tonight, AIC could have secured a regular season Atlantic Hockey title, their fourth In a row, on the road at Tate Rink. Riley said “ I didn’t want them to win against us.”

Riley talked about the path his team has taken a lot this year of losing game one before coming back in game two. He said “we never make it easy for ourselves.”

Riley praised AIC goalie Jake Kucharski for his effort. “I wouldn’t imagine that the power play goal that put us up 1-0 would be the only goal of the game. Goalies played great. Gavin Abric for us was our best player, he was really calm in there. He’s done that a lot this year.”

He discussed how he watches AIC when he’s not facing them as well. “ I root for them every weekend except when they play us.”

“It was an unbelievable hockey game. Both teams work extremely hard, it was really a goaltenders battle.”

On Noah Wilson’s single season blocked shots record Riley added the following:

“When you block shots that’s the ultimate measurement of determining if somebody plays for his team or plays for himself. He’s a team first guy and I’m glad he’s part of our program.”

For AIC, head Coach Eric Lang talked about his choice to rest some of their top players.

He said “We have some guys with some minor dings and some wear and tear. The team we put on the ice we fully expect to win the hockey game.”

On the atmosphere Lang added “It was a really entertaining hockey game. I thought both goalies were the best players on the ice. I liked our push in the third period. I really felt like we were going to get that thing tied. Army did a great job of allowing Abric to see some pucks. Credit Army tonight they had a great game plan and won a playoff type of game.”

Going forward Lang said “The ice is going to start getting harder down the stretch. I really liked our intent tonight. Army can bully you if you don’t push back. I thought we pushed back.”

Of a postseason meeting Lang added “ If we see them again in the post season that could be a good sign because we are both in Utica. We would love nothing more. That would be fantastic.”


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