Dec. 30, 2004
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Ryan Cruthers scored twice in his first game of the season, and Chris Garceau potted one of his own in his first action since Oct. 23 to lead Army past visiting St. Clair, 5-2, Thursday night in front of 1,994 spectators at Tate Rink.
Cruthers, ineligible the first semester of the season, got the Black Knights on the board with 1:45 left in the opening period when he beat Saints goaltender Chris Gregoire from the high slot area off a feed from Chad Fifield. His second tally of the night gave Army (5-9-2) a 4-2 advantage in the third period.
Garceau, returning to the Black Knights' lineup for the first time since RPI, gave Army a 3-1 lead midway through the second period.
St. Clair (10-7-2) stormed right back after Cruthers opened the scoring in the first period. Franco Subrani netted a goal with six second left in the first to knot things up at 1-1 after 20 minutes.
However, Army received a goal from Seth Beamer at 5:21 of the second before Garceau penciled his name onto the scoresheet. Beamer's blast from the slot beat Gregoire cleanly. Garceau took a feed from Nick Cahill while crossing the blue line into the zone and walked in on Gregoire, giving the hosts a two-goal advantage.
David Vink cut the deficit in half when he stuffed a shot past Army goalie Treye Kettwick during a scramble off to the left of the goal mouth.
Just over four minutes into the third period, Cruthers demonstrated why head coach Brian Riley is so delighted to have the flashy forward back in the lineup when he batted down a St. Clair pass in the slot and wristed a shot over the shoulder of Gregoire, pushing the Black Knights' lead back to two.
"I was happy to finally get going," Cruthers said. "I was looking forward to playing and it just happened that I was able to put two pucks into the net."
"(Cruthers and Garceau) scored three of our goals tonight," Riley added. "They make everybody around them better.
"Coming off an extended break, I was very pleased with our effort overall."
Brad Howard closed the scoring with a slap shot from the left faceoff circle at 11:37 of the final stanza. Justin Fagan and Michael Picone each contributed two assists on the evening. Howard picked up an assist as well to go along with his third period goal. Cahill and Colvin also had assists.
Kettwick stopped 20 shots to improve to 3-8-2 in goal. Gregoire made 18 saves for the Saints.
Army returns to the ice sheet at Tate Rink on Friday, Jan. 7 for the first of two home games with Atlantic Hockey rival UConn. Faceoff is 7 p.m.