Photo Credit: Army West Point Athletics
For Army West Point the Black Knights come into this season with the inverse issue of what they had last year. They have a star goalie once again in Gavin Abric, and a defense that can score. Anthony Firriolo has the potential to get a pro chance like what Colin Bilek earned after his Army Career is done. The unknown for this group will be their forward depth. While they have energy players like Ricky Lyle and Joey Baez coming back, they need to see how their rookies like Max Itagaki do. This is especially relevant against these two teams in these two games.
Army West Point-Union College
This is the season opener for the Black Knights. In this game they will face a team built fundamentally different from them. They are built with skill up front and have players that can score. The best two examples of this come from the transfer portal. Chris Theodore, the former AIC star, is skilled and can stick handle in a phone booth. He and Lake Superior State transfer Josh Nixon share similar traits and abilities to make defenses have to respond to them. Union is a young team with a forward group that should challenge a lot of teams they face. Union is also built differently from most teams that this group will face. If they can skate with Union they will be ready to deal with anyone in their conference.
Army West Point Vs Providence College
This matchup was the season opener last year for this group. It was also arguably the worst 60 minutes they played all year. While yes, winning this game is important, and doing so will help the Pairwise fates of Atlantic Hockey, it is more of a measuring stick for them the rest of the year. They lost this matchup 7-0 a week before losing two winnable games worth of regulation victory points at home against RIT. This game matters because how this group plays in its second half opener against Providence will be a good tell of where everyone is. Just like AIC did after its win against UConn, Army has to take their most marquee moment and learn from it and move forward.
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