Photo Credit: Army West Point Athletics Communications
“A typical Army Air Force one goal game really.”
Head Coach of Army Hockey Brian Riley talked about the game that put Army in contention for a home series in the Atlantic Hockey postseason. They never trailed and figured out how to battle against an Air Force team that played well in all but one area. As Riley said, “special teams , that was the difference tonight, we had one power play goal and they were 0-5.”￼
On Gavin Abric’s night , Riley said , “He made big saves, and was a calming influence when it got stormy out there.” On the return of Eric Huss and his strategy Riley added “we really made it a three line game… I didn’t want to give him too much, just getting back out there was a win.”
On the leader of the junior class and one of the leaders of the team Ricky Lyle who potted two goals on the night, Riley said , “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to watch our game and the first guy you notice out there is number eight. Im just really glad he’s on our team.”
On the rivalry and the importance of Army-Air Force in the new age of college hockey , Riley was appreciative of the night , saying , “It could be the only game in college hockey all year where there’s no Covid seniors and no grad transfers, just two teams that rely on their work ethic. After the game to have both teams circled up and salute the fans, you just don’t see that. It’s the only rivalry where you have both teams on the same team when they graduate. I think this is the most special rivalry.”
Riley knows that the Falcons will be coming with everything in the series finale. “We can play better and we are going to have to play better. They are going to come with everything tomorrow.”
Associate Head Coach Zach McKelvie added on Lyle “Ricky is an everyday guy. He is so committed to getting better everyday, will do whatever it takes to win, loves his teammates and just a great person. It’s a pretty simple formula, when you bring it like he does and work hard, good things happen.”
On the team and it’s growth , “We are just focused on growing as a team and getting better each day. Guys have embraced that and we are playing a lot more consistently now.”
This is an Army team playing well despite many of its games going to overtime. They are learning how to win as the year goes on in different situations. Getting points in the finale against Air Force sets them up better to earn a home ice series for their seniors in the postseason. For a team that likes to matchup like Army does, that advantage against an improve Atlantic Hockey Association is so important.
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