Dec. 1, 2012
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WEST POINT, N.Y. - Three different players scored goals as Army beat American International, 3-2, Saturday night in an Atlantic Hockey Association game at an emotional Tate Rink.
Army honored one of its former players killed in action prior to the game and then freshmen Thane Heller, Christian Pomarico and Shane Hearn scored goals to lead the Black Knights to their second consecutive win and a weekend sweep following a 3-2 victory over Bentley on Thursday. The last time Army swept a weekend series with Feb. 18 and 19, 2011.
Mac Lalor had a pair of assists while Andy Starczewski, Josh Roberts, Josh Richards and Joe Kozlak registered assists for Army.
Army improved to 5-6-1 overall and 5-2-1 in league games while AIC fell to 3-7-3 overall and 0-5-3 in conference matchups.
Ryan Leets made 31 saves for the Black Knights who have won three of their last four games.
Prior to the game, the Army Athletic Association honored former player and Officer Representative Major Tom Kennedy who was killed in action in Afghanistan in August.
Kennedy's wife, Kami, twin children Brody and Maggie, parents George and Patricia and brothers, John and George, were all part of a pregame ceremony that included remarks from Army hockey head coach Brian Riley, a jersey presentation of Kennedy's #14 and a ceremonial puck drop.
The Army players wore black jerseys, with Kennedy on the back and an American flag, while all fans in attendance were presented with "TK" stickers, similar to what the players wear.
After an emotional start to the game, Army was flying early with numerous chances. Kozlak hit the post midway through the period in the best scoring opportunity.
Each team had nine shots on goal but Leets and AIC's Ben Meisner kept the game scoreless after 20 minutes.
AIC, idle since Nov. 25, scored the first goal of the game early in the second period. With an Army player in the penalty box for interference, Blake Peake scored his third goal of the season 40 seconds into the second session.
Heller tied the game with 2:37 left in the second period, blasting in his fifth goal of the season. Lalor and Starczewski set the play up. Heller took the puck from the AIC end and collected his ninth point of the season. It was the 10th assist of the season for Starczewski and the third for Lalor.
Pomarico gave Army its first lead three minutes into the final period. Lalor took a shot from the blue line, Roberts picked up the loose puck after the save and Pomarico skated in for the goal. It was the fourth assist for the Lalor and the first for Roberts.
The Black Knights extended their lead to 3-1 with five minutes left as Hearn picked up his third of the season. Richards and Kozlak were credited with the assists.
AIC answered with a goal from Chris Porter to cut its deficit to 3-2 with three minutes left to play.
The Yellow Jackets pulled Meisner and used their timeout but Army held on for the win.
Following the game, AIC stood on its blue line, Army at center ice and gloves and helmet were placed on the blue line while the West Point alma mater was played.
Army will return to action Friday, Dec. 7 at Connecticut. Face-off at the Freitas Ice Forum is set for 7:05 p.m.
GAMES NOTES: Army wore its black sweaters ... Army's starting lineup consisted of Brian Schultz, R.J. Burns, Zak Zaremba, Jonathan Gehrt and Mac Lalor with Ryan Leets in goal ... Leets made his 44th career start ... Former Army hockey head coach Rob Riley, Tom Kennedy's coach while he was at West Point, was part of the sold-out crowd ... Saturday marked Army's first sell out of the season ... The Ramapo, N.J. Saints, the hometown team of Major Kennedy, competed during the first intermission ... Col. Wiley Thompson served as Officer Representative.
ARMY 3, AIC 2
AIC -Peake (Pleskach and Puskar), PP, :40
ARMY - Heller (Starczewski, Lalor), 17:23
ARMY - Pomarico (Lalor, Roberts), 2:45
ARMY -Hearn (Richards, Kozlak), 14:48
AIC - Porter (Leitner, Pleskach), 16:49
Shots: AIC 33 (9-15-9); Army 28 (9-10-9)
Saves: AIC 25 (Meisner, 59:05, 9-9-7); Army 31 (Leets, 60:00, 9-14-8)
Power Plays: AIC, 1-3; Army, 0-1
Penalties: AIC, 2-4; Army, 3-6