Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography
In part two of our series where we will find at least one key theme to watch for every single Atlantic Hockey team, we will focus on the service academies together today. Air Force and Army West Point had the series of the Atlantic Hockey playoffs with a plucky effort from the Falcons to win both games in overtime on the road. They then went to the Atlantic Hockey Championship against AIC where their season ended.
This year, the two teams each have opposing things to focus on.
Army West Point
For the Black Knights, they need to find scoring up front to replace their big senior class that is now serving our country. While no one expects some of their plebes like Max Itagaki to replace Colin Bilek right away, players like Max will be looked towards to help quickly. Itagaki . In addition, keep your eye on second year forward, Hunter McCoy. The Maryland Black Bears alum got better as the year went on, and impressed Bilek with his work ethic as a plebe. If McCoy can help with the work up front, and the team can get some more depth help from its forwards, be they plebe or returners, than Gavin Abric can have some of the pressure taken off of him in net.
Air Force Academy
For the Falcons, they only have to replace one senior. That senior is one of the best to ever tend the goal for them, in Alex Schilling. He willed a young team many nights last year to get wins, and helped them get to the Atlantic Hockey Championship. They have four goalies all capable of playing the position at the Division One level, including Guy Blessing who is a very athletic netminder who plays a cerebral game. Frank Serratore will have Blessing, first year goalie Aaron Randazzo, Senior Austin Park, and Junior Maiszon Balboa all making a case for reps this season. If the veteran team in front of the net can give whomever wins the job some decent goal support, the Falcons could start off this season flying back to the top of Atlantic Hockey.
Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link.