Army Closes Regular Season With Sacred Heart

Army will host Sacred Heart for Senior Day Saturday

Army will host Sacred Heart for Senior Day Saturday

Feb. 22, 2012

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WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Army hockey team will conclude regular season play with an Atlantic Hockey Association home-and-home series against Sacred Heart. Friday's game is set for 7:05 p.m. at the Milford Ice Pavilion in Milford, Conn., while Saturday's contest will face-off at 7:05 p.m. at Tate Rink at West Point, N.Y.

Prior to Saturday's game, Army will honor the 11 senior members of the squad and their families during an on-ice ceremony.

Marcel Alvarez, Alex McRae, Mike Hull, Mark Dube, Jack Barnes, Pat Ryan, Bryant Skarda, Bill Day, Danny Colvin, Bret Larson and Kyle Maggard will all dress at Tate Rink for the final times in their careers. In addition, managers Will Rust and Jon Greaney are also participating in their final home game.

Army enters the weekend 4-19-7 overall and in 11th place in the AHA standings with 11 points and a 3-17-5 record.

Sacred Heart is 3-26-3 overall and behind Army at 2-20-3 in league contests.

Both Army and Sacred Heart will travel for a first round, best-of-three playoff series March 2-4.

Army defeated Sacred Heart, 2-1, on Nov. 11 in the first of three meetings with the Pioneers.

PLAYOFF UPDATE: Army can finish 10th through 12th in the league standings depending on the outcome of this weekend's games.

Army can finish with a maximum of 15 points with a sweep this weekend and could pass AIC for 10th place if the Yellow Jackets get swept by Connecticut.

Air Force is atop the conference standings with 34 points and a 14-5-6 record, one in front of RIT who is 14-6-5. Niagara, Mercyhurst and Bentley are tied for the third spot with 32 points with Holy Cross (31) and Robert Morris (29) just behind.

The top four teams in the standings will receive a bye in the first round of the playoffs and all six of those teams have secured a home playoff series.

The playoffs get underway March 2 with a best-of-three playoff series with the winners advancing to the quarterfinals. The quarterfinal round will also be a best-of-three series at the four teams who earn byes.

The final weekend of the regular season features five home-and-home series: Army and Sacred Heart, Holy Cross and Bentley, RIT and Niagara Connecticut and AIC and Mercyhurst and Canisius. Air Force will play a pair of games at Robert Morris this weekend.

The AHA semifinals and finals will be at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y., March 16-17.

SENIOR SALTUTE: Prior to Saturday's game, Army will honor the 11 senior members of the squad who are playing their final game at Tate Rink.

Marcel Alvarez, Alex McRae, Mike Hull, Mark Dube, Jack Barnes, Pat Ryan, Bryant Skarda, Bill Day, Danny Colvin, Bret Larson and Kyle Maggard will all be honored before face-off during an on-ice ceremony with their families and head Office Representative Col. Ed Naessens. It will also mark for the final game for managers Will Rust and Jon Greaney.

After the game, the seniors will gather on the blue line for the playing of the alma mater.

PUCK DROP: Dave Weyant, who has served as an off-ice official at Army for 42 years will be retiring this season and will drop the ceremonial first puck prior to Saturday's game against Sacred Heart.

Weyant began working Army games as a volunteer with his father and has performed all of the off-ice officials' duties. He also serves as the Director of Off-Ice Officials.

PICK THE JERSEY: For the first time, fans had the opportunity to choose what color sweater the Army hockey team would wear.

Based solely on vote totals, Army wore its gold sweaters for the Feb. 18 game against American International.

Fans were encouraged to "like" the Army Athletics Facebook page at Army Black Knights and then make their choice. A photo gallery was posted on the official Army Black Knights Facebook page showing captains Mike Hull and Marcel Alvarez and alternative captain Alex McRae in each of the jerseys.

Fans had 10 days to cast their votes and chose gold by a narrow margin over white with gray in third.

TUESDAY WIN: Army played a rare Tuesday game against Connecticut on Feb. 7 and responded with one of its best performances of the season in a 4-2 victory.

Despite traveling the afternoon of the game, the Black Knights scored a season-best four goals and held the Huskies to just 15 shots, including only two in the opening period.

RMC RECAP: Army exploded for nine goals and 11 different players registered points in a 9-1 victory over their Canadian military brethren Royal Military College on Feb. 4 at Tate Rink.

Army and RMC first competed in hockey in 1923, a 3-0 RMC win at West Point. Since then, the two military academies have played 76 games with Army holding a 40-29-7 advantage in the series. The original game was started by then-West Point Superintendent Douglas MacArthur to foster bonds between the service academies.

The last time these two teams met was in 2006 when they skated to a 3-3 overtime tie in Ontario, Canada. The rivalry has resumed with games set for each of the next three seasons. In 2012-13, the game will be played at West Point, N.Y., while the series travels to Kingston, Ontario in 2013-14.

In the 2012 version of the contest, Danny Colvin and Zak Zaremba each had two goals and two assists and Mike Hull netted two scores. Hull had a three-point night with an assist, while Mark Dube, Mac Lalor and Andy Starczewski all had a goal and assist apiece. Marcel Alvarez and Bryant Skarda each had two assists. Maurice Alvarez, Cody Ikkala and Kyle Maggard registered assists for Army.

Army goalie Ryan Leets made 20 saves while Matt Walsh, seeing his first career action, turned away two shots at the fourth sellout of the season at Tate Rink.

Command Sergeant Major Todd Burnett and head hockey Officer Representative Col. Ed Naessens presented the "Challenge Trophy," to captains Hull, Marcel Alvarez and Alex McRae after the postgame handshake and combined stick salute.

A combined color guard with cadets from both Army and RMC, the playing of the Canadian and U.S. national anthems, a pregame faceoff with hockey legend Jack Riley, who spent 36 years behind the Army bench and Danny McLeod from RMC were all part of the festivities as the rivalry renewed for the first time since 2006.

CHAIRMAN OF ARMY HOCKEY: Gen. Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently returned to West Point and was presented with an Army hockey jersey.

Gen. Dempsey, a 1974 West Point graduate, was on post for 500th Night. He was presented with a black Army road jersey with number 74 by West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. David Huntoon.

AS SEEN ON TV: For the ninth consecutive year, the Army hockey team appeared on national television.

CBS Sports Network broadcasted the Black Knights' game against Air Force on Friday, Jan. 20, live to a national audience as part of the Atlantic Hockey Association package.

Eric Frede handled the play-by-play duties while Jim Paradise was the color commentator.

Last season, Army's game at Air Force was broadcast nationally. The Black Knights have had at least one of their games shown on national television each of the past nine years.

TV FIRSTS: Army first appeared on live television this season when the Jan. 13 contest at Niagara was carried throughout New York by Time Warner Cable.

ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE
: To say the Army hockey team had an excellent academic first semester might be a bit of an understatement. Twenty-two of 29 players and managers, 76%, made the Dean's List with a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. The hockey team posted the highest semester GPA of all of Army's NCAA sponsored sports.

In addition to a 3.28 team GPA in the fall, no player or manager received below a C in any course.

Kyle Maggard led the team with a 4.066 GPA with Ryan Leets (3.990) close behind. Marcel and Maurice Alvarez, Jack Barnes, Jon Bobb, John Clark, Danny Colvin, Billy Day, Mark Dube, Mike Hull, Cody Ikkala, Bret Larson, Alex McRae, Josh Richards, Cheyne Rocha, Pat Ryan, Brian Schultz, Bryant Skarda and Matt Walsh earned Dean's List accolades as well as managers Houston Carlson and Jon Greaney.

AT ATTENTION: One of the features of the Army vs. Air Force service academy rivalry is the postgame activities after the series concludes. The seniors from both squads gather on the blue line when each school's alma mater is played and then both teams combine to salute the crowd. A group dinner also follows.

HOUSE OF BLUES: The Army hockey team helped raise prostate cancer awareness with a "House of Blues" celebration on Jan. 6 during its game with Canisius.

T-shirts and bracelets were distributed to fans, Army donned special blue sweaters and Army Athletic Association employee and prostate cancer survivor Chris Perry dropped the first puck. The American Cancer Society was on hand for the event as well.

"I'm proud of the players for wanting to get involved and wanting to help the community," said Army hockey head coach Brian Riley. "This was a way they could give back. The hockey community has done a great job of raising awareness for this terrible disease and it says a lot about the caliber of players we have that they volunteer their time to support this cause."

NON-CONFERENCE SUCCESS: For the fourth consecutive season, Army has a non-conference win among its list of accolades.

Army posted a 3-2 victory over Rensselaer in the consolation game of the Toyota UConn Classic at the Freitas Ice Forum in Storrs, Conn., on Dec. 30.

Brian Schultz scored the game-winning goal with 93 seconds left to lift the Black Knights past ECAC rival RPI.

Last year, Army beat Hockey East's Massachusetts 5-2 in Amherst, Mass., on Nov. 5 and dispatched Rensselaer, 2-1, on Nov. 31, 2009, in Troy, N.Y.

Those wins came on the heels of a 3-2 victory over #2 Miami of the CCHA at the Ohio State Tournament on Jan. 3, 2009.

UP NEXT: Army will travel for the first round of the Atlantic Hockey Association playoffs. The first round series with a best-of-three format will begin Friday, March 2.

The quarterfinals will also be a series the following weekend with the semifinals and championship game in Rochester, N.Y., at the Blue Cross Arena March 16-17.

CONNECTICUT WEEKEND: Army finished third at the Toyota UConn Classic Dec. 29 and 30 in Storrs, Conn.

The Black Knights lost to Connecticut 2-0 in the opener and then beat Rensselaer 3-2 to claim third-place honors.

While no Army players were selected to the All-Tournament Team, Mike Hull had a goal and assist, while Mark Dube and Brian Schultz also scored goals.

Rene Rancourt, the voice of the Boston Bruins, sang the National Anthem prior to the Army vs. Connecticut game. The legendary singer was also available to meet fans between games.

It marked Army's fourth appearance in the tournament where the Black Knights are a combined 2-5-1.

SLEDDING ALONG: The Army hockey team continued its tradition of playing the Long Island RoughRiders sled hockey team. After the Dec. 3 overtime tie with Mercyhurst, Army traded the skates for sleds and competed in a 20-minute exhibition game against the team from Long Island.

Sled hockey is played mainly by people with various lower extremity disabilities in which players are seated on sleds, which are affixed to two hockey skate blades under the seat. The sleds are about three inches off the ice and around three feet long depending on the size of the player. The sled glides on the blades and a metal bar located at the front of the sled.

Players use their arms to propel themselves along the ice and dig picks, on the ends of two short hockey sticks, into the ice to pull themselves forward. Players have a right and a left stick (the blades are curved differently) that are miniature copies of a typical hockey stick, except for the metal picks (like figure skate toe picks) on the ends. Players shoot, pass, and propel themselves with the sticks.

This marked the fifth year Army has played Long Island.

GOALIE AND SCHOLAR: Army junior goalie Ryan Leets was presented with his Atlantic Hockey Association Scholar-Athlete of the Year trophy on Dec. 2 prior to a game against Mercyhurst. League commissioner Robert DeGregorio, Dean of West Point's Academic Board Gen. Timothy Trainor, Army's Senior Executive Associate Athletic Director Bob Beretta and Army hockey head coach Brian Riley presented Leets with his award for posting the top grade-point average among league goalies during the 2010-11 season. It was the second straight award for Leets.

IN MEMORY: A ceremonial face-off was held prior to the Dec. 3 game against Mercyhurst with captains from both teams and members of Rob Ross' family.

Ross, a 2008 Army graduate who was a four-year contributor and key member of the Atlantic Hockey Association regular-season championship squad, died in an accident over the summer. Ross was known for his quick smile and competitiveness.

His parents, Debbie and Jim, his sister Katie and brothers Jim and Tom were on the ice for a ceremony along with a number of former players who returned for the occasion.

The Army hockey team is wearing RR stickers on its helmets for the remainder of the season.

WRITER'S BLOCK: Senior Bill Day is authoring an on-line blog, chronicling the 2011-12 hockey season. Dubbed "Day and Knights," it is available at www.goARMYsports.com and updated frequently.

ABOUT THE BLACK KNIGHTS: Army is 4-19-7 overall and 3-17-5 in Atlantic Hockey Association games after dropping a pair of games to AIC last weekend.

The Black Knights are averaging 1.8 goals per game and allowing 3.4 with 18 power play goals in 131 chances. They have allowed opponents 23 goals in 125 power play opportunities.

Mike Hull leads the Black Knights in assists (14) and scoring (21 points), ahead of Any Starczewski who has a team-high 11 goals and eight assists. Danny Colvin has four goals and 11 assists, while the Alvarez brothers, Maurice and Marcel are both in double-digit scoring. Maurice has five goals and eight assists, while Marcel has two goals and 10 assists.

Ryan Leets is 4-12-4 in net with a 3.39 goals against average and .892 save percentage. Rob Tadazak has a 3.20 goals against average and .908 save percentage but is not expected to dress due to injury.

ABOUT THE PIONEERS: Sacred Heart enters the weekend with 3-26-3 overall and 2-20-3 in league contests.

The Pioneers own wins over Yale, 8-6, AIC, 4-2 and Connecticut, 2-1 in overtime and average 2.1 goals per game while allowing 4.8. They have scored 12 power play goals in 153 chances while allowing opponents 41 goals in 157 opportunities.

Matt Gingera leads the team with 12 assists and 23 points, while Brian Sheehan has 10 goals and 11 assists. Drew George has a team-high 12 goals to go with five assists while Eric DeLong (six goals, 10 assists) and Ben Ketchum (eight goals, five assists) are also in double-digits in scoring.

Steven Legatto has played in 26 games in goal and has a .889 save percentage, 4.63 goals against average and 3-19-1 record. Andrew Bodnarchuck has seen action in 14 games with an 0-7-2 mark, .867 save percentage and 4.61 goals against average.

LAST TIME vs. SACRED HEART (11/11/11) MILFORD, Conn.   -  Brothers Maurice and Marcel Alvarez, playing as a defensive pairing for the first time, accounted for a goal and two assists as the Army hockey team posted its first win of the season, beating Sacred Heart, 2-1, Friday night in an Atlantic Hockey Association matchup at the Milford Ice Pavilion.

Maurice, a freshman, scored his first collegiate goal and handed out an assist while his brother, senior captain Marcel, was credited with an assist.

Ryan Leets made 23 saves to earn the win in goal while Zak Zaremba scored a goal and Danny Colvin and Andy Starczewski also registered assists.

Despite arriving a little later than usual because of some bus issues, Army came out strong, blasting 17 shots on goal in the first 20 minutes and holding Sacred Heart to just seven. Despite the hefty advantage in shots on goal, the game was scoreless after the first period.

AIR FORCE SUCCESS: While Air Force posted a tie and victory over Army Jan. 20 and 21, Army has had success against the Falcons at Tate Rink.

Army is 5-1-2 in the last eight games at Tate Rink and 6-2-2 in the last 10 at its home rink. Army leads the all-time series with Air Force 13-11-2 at Tate Rink.

FRESHMAN STARTS: Freshman goalie Rob Tadazak has played in 11 games with 10 starts but his most impressive game came against Brown.

Tadazak made a career-best 53 saves to help Army to a 1-1 overtime draw with Brown on Nov. 19. He made 15 saves in the first period, 18 in the second, 16 in the third and five in overtime. Tadazak allowed a second-period goal and then helped Army kill off all eight Brown power play opportunities.

He is the first Army goalie to make 50 saves since Jay Clark turned away 56 against No. 2 Miami on Jan. 3, 2009.

THREE TIMES FOR STARZ: Army junior forward Andy Starczewski was named the Travel Team USA Co-Player of the Week after registering his first collegiate hat trick at Ritter Arena against RIT Nov. 5.

After RIT jumped out to a 1-0 lead, Starczewski scored three straight goals in the first and second periods in an eventual 5-3 Army loss.

Starczewski scored his first goal with less than three minutes remaining in the first period and then scored twice in the first five minutes of the second period to increase his season total to four goals.

Starczewski recorded Army's first hat trick since Feb. 18, 2011 when Mark Dube accomplished the feat opposite AIC.

GENTELMAN AND A SCHOLAR: Army senior forward Kyle Maggard isn't only a volunteer in the community, he also excels in the classroom and has been selected to receive the prestigious Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar award.

He will pursue a Masters in Philosophy in Engineering for Sustainable Development at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. With a focus on sustainable fresh water supply, he hopes to use his studies to bring clean, fresh water to millions of people in developing countries that go without it every day. In addition, as a future engineer officer in the Army, Kyle will have the opportunity to use his studies in areas of the world where sustainable engineering solutions are absolutely crucial to the long-term stability and peace of conflict-torn regions. Sponsored by the city of Columbus, Ohio, Kyle will also be acting as an ambassador of goodwill between the city of Columbus and city of Cambridge in order to strengthen international relationships and promote cultural understanding.

NEW ENGLAND STARTERS: Army's starting line-up against #13 Merrimack in North Andover, Mass., was a mostly New England group.

Freshman Josh Richards (Lee, N.H.), was at left wing with senior Mike Hull (Gross Pointe Woods, Mich.) and senior Mark Dube (Billerica, Mass.) at forwards. Junior Cheyne Rocha (Rye, N.H.) and freshman Mac Lalor (Needham, Mass.) were on defense. Freshman Rob Tadazak (LaPeer, Mich.) was in goal.

PLAYING AGAINST THE BEST: Army played three nationally ranked teams in its first four games of the 2011-12 season. Following games against #11 Union and #13 Merrimack, Army tied #14 Colgate, 2-2, at the Cape Cod Classic in Hyannis, Mass.

THE CAPTAINS: Army has a pair of captains this season as well as an alternate.

Senior defenseman Marcel Alvarez, an alternate a season ago, wears the "C" on his sweater as does senior forward Mike Hull. Senior forward Alex McRae, coming off an injury-riddled 2010-11, serves as an alternate captain.

NEIGHBORHOOD KNIGHTS: Seeking to give back to the community, the Army hockey team has formed "Neighborhood Knights," to volunteer their time.

Led by Kyle Maggard, the group has been actively involved in the local community and plans to utilize its time in a number of projects that benefit the environment and recreation areas.

"I am very proud of our players," said Army hockey head coach Brian Riley. "The players decided that they wanted to be more involved and have done all of this work on their own. Being a West Point cadet or a Division I hockey player is hard enough on its own, yet these guys are finding time to make a difference in their community and that says a lot about their character."

The Neighborhood Knights began their service in May at Brooks Park in Fort Montgomery, N.Y., where several team members raked leaves and helped clean up the area. Picking up trash in the park and neighboring stream and trails and preparing the park for spring and summer use was the focus of the day. In addition to Maggard, players Jack Barnes, Alex McRae, Cheyne Rocha, Jon Bobb and Brian Schultz as well as manager Will Rust spent a Saturday cleaning up.

"As players, we have been talking about getting involved in our community," said Maggard, an Engineering Management major with a 3.96 grade-point average. "The community welcomes us as cadets, athletes and mostly as friends and we felt it was important to help.  We all enjoy our `Skate With The Black Knights' and playing the Long Island RoughRiders but we wanted to develop something which showed our program's appreciation for the community."

In addition to work at Brooks Park, a group of skaters assisted in the Special Olympics. Maggard, Bobb, Barnes, McRae, Rocha, Schultz, Mike Hull, Marcel Alvarez, John Clark, Bill Day, Pat Ryan, Anthony Cadieux, Danny Colvin, Mark Dube, Mike Henderson, Cody Ikkala, Bret Larson, Chris Spracklen, Dax Lauwers, Mike Santee, Bryant Skarda and Andy Starczewski helped with checking runners in, organizing and facilitating races, timing events and much more.

"I think I can speak for the entire team when I say we had a blast at the Special Olympics," said Maggard. "We were humbled and honored to work with athletes who truly know what it means to be a winner. We were lucky enough to interact with hundreds of athletes in a variety of activities. There is no doubt the Army hockey team will be involved with the Special Olympics next year. It was a great day for our players and we met some unbelievable athletes we won't soon forget."

The Neighborhood Knights were also involved in 9/11 tributes and are planning to Adopt-A-Highway in the near future, cleaning a 1.3 mile strip in Fort Montgomery, N.Y., as part of a two-year agreement.

Currently, members are working with local youth hockey teams with several projects in the works.

"Our vision is that the Neighborhood Knights will continue to grow as a program and it can be passed on each year," said Maggard. "We want to establish a legacy of the hockey program giving back and make serving our community a frequent and long-standing practice. As athletes, we know the great impact a healthy and clean environment can have on a community, especially on the development of children."

BRUINED: Former Army hockey standout Zach McKelvie is competing with the Boston Bruins' AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins.

A 2009 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, McKelvie served in the Army for two years before joining the Bruins organization. He was stationed in Fort Benning, Ga., as an infantry officer and will serve eight years of reserve time.

McKelvie, listed as a 6-foot-2, 200-pound defenseman, played in a pair of exhibition games with the Bruins before moving to Providence where he has appeared in 29 games and has two points.

McKelvie registered his first professional point with a goal against the Manchester Monarchs on Nov. 5.

WELCOME BACK:
Army has a new face behind the bench, sort of, in Mike Warde. An assistant who spent four seasons at Army, Warde is back at West Point after a stint at Alabama-Huntsville.

Warde was the top assistant and recruiting coordinator for the Chargers while also coaching special teams. At Army, he will play a large role in the Black Knights' recruiting efforts and video analysis while working with the team on and off the ice.

SCHEDULE CHALLENGES: Army has faced four teams who qualified for the NCAA Tournament during the 2011-12 season.

Army beat Rensselaer 3-2 at the Toyota UConn Classic on Dec. 29 and tied Air Force 3-3 in overtime on Jan. 20. Army also played Union and Merrimack, two teams that are nationally ranked.

TO THE PLAYOFFS: The Atlantic Hockey Association will feature a different format for the playoffs this season.

All 12 teams will qualify for the postseason with teams seeded based on the results of the regular-season standings. The top four teams will receive a bye in the first round. The first round match-ups will include the No. 5 seed hosting the No. 12 seed, the No. 6 seed hosting the No. 11 seed, the No. 7 seed hosting the No. 10 seed and the No. 8 seed hosting the No. 9 seed. This series will be a best two-out-of-three and will take place March 2-4.

The quarterfinal round will also be a best two-out-of-three series, which will take place March 9-11. The top four seeds will host the four teams advancing from the first round, with re-seeding taking place.

The quarterfinal winners will advance to Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y., where the semifinals and Championship games will be held on Friday and Saturday, March 16 and 17, respectively. The four teams advancing will be re-seeded. The winner of the Atlantic Hockey Championship will earn the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

OH BROTHER: For the fifth straight season, Army has a pair of brothers on the roster. Following in the footsteps of Chris and Joe Spracklen and Jay and John Clark, both Marcel and Maurice Alvarez don the Army sweater this season.

Marcel is a senior captain and defenseman and is usually paired with his freshman brother and fellow defenseman.

Joe Spracklen was a goaltender while Chris was a forward. Jay Clark also played in net with his brother John, a senior member of the team, playing defense.

FROZEN IN FLORIDA: The Frozen Four will be held in Tampa, Fla., this season at the St. Pete Times Forum, April 5 and 7.

NCAA Regional games will be held at the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Conn.; the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wis.; the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass.; and the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn.

ICE BREAKER: The Army hockey team will be among the four teams competing at the 2012 Ice Breaker College Hockey Tournament at Sprint Center, it was announced during a joint press conference by the Kansas City Sports Commission and College Hockey, Inc.

The Ice Breaker Tournament traditionally marks the start of the college hockey season and the 2012 season will begin with Army, Maine, Nebraska-Omaha and Notre Dame.

The 16th annual Ice Breaker Tournament will be held Oct. 12-13, 2012, and marks Army's second appearance in the event.

Tournament tickets are available at sprintcenter.com, Sprint Center Box Office, Ticketmaster locations and charge by phone at 800-745-3000. Group discount tickets will be available for charge by phone at 816-949-7177 or by email: grouptickets@sprintcenter.com.

Army last played in the Ice Breaker in 2009-10 when the Black Knights dropped a 6-4 game to Nebraska-Omaha and a 5-2 setback to St. Lawrence in Omaha, Neb.

FIRST FAMILY OF HOCKEY: It's tough to argue with those who call the Riley's the "first family of hockey." From Jack Riley winning an Olympic gold medal to his five children all playing Division I hockey, the evidence is on the ice.

Jack Riley coached at Army from 1951-1986, winning 542 games in the process. He was also selected to coach the 1960 U.S. Olympic men's hockey team and led the squad to its first gold medal in the sport.

Jack's five children all served as captains at their respective schools. Rob and Mark both played at Boston College while Jay was a star at Harvard. Brian graduated from Brown University while Mary Beth, the lone female, was a captain at St. Lawrence University.

Rob took over the Army head coaching position from his father in 1986 and then turned the program over to Brian in 2004.

SUCCESS IN SPRINGFIELD: Former Army hockey head coach Rob Riley, the older brother of coach Brian Riley, is in his second season as the head coach of the AHL's Springfield Falcons.

Riley led the Columbus Blue Jackets' top affiliate to a 35-40-2-3 record last season while the squad is 23-23-2 this season.

Rob Riley was Army's head coach from 1986-2004 before turning the program over to his brother. Rob won 257 games during his 18 seasons before switching careers. He returned to coaching in 2010 with the Falcons.

FAMILY TIES: Army junior defenseman Cody Ikkala and his younger brother, Cole, a forward at Union, had a chance to renew acquaintances at Tate Rink on Oct. 8. Last season, with their parents in the stands at Messa Rink, both Ikkala brothers were in the starting lineup when Army played at Union on Dec. 11. It was the first career start for Cody Ikkala. This season, both players logged plenty of ice time in an 8-1 Union victory.

WATCH IT: America One will again provide video and audio where available of every Atlantic Hockey Association game.

Previously the B2 Network, America One is the official multi-media provider of the AHA and carries all games home and away. Subscriptions can be purchased monthly or annually. To access games, visit b2tv.com.

WEST POINT CONNECTIONS: Two hockey players are following in their father's footsteps as West Point graduates.

Senior Pat Ryan's father, Jack, is a 1970 graduate of the Academy and his older brother, Will, was a member of the Class of 2009. Senior Bill Day's father, Tom, is a member of the Class of 1978.

COACHES POLL: The Army hockey team was picked to finish eighth in the Atlantic Hockey Association preseason vote of head coaches.

Army received 51 votes in the poll in which coaches could not vote for their own team.

Defending regular season champion RIT was tabbed first, followed by Air Force and Holy Cross. RIT and Air Force each received five first-place votes while Holy Cross collected the other two.

Niagara was chosen fourth, followed by Connecticut, Robert Morris, Mercyhurst, Army, Canisius, Bentley, Sacred Heart and American International.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: The official Army Athletic Association twitter page can be found at www.twitter.com/ArmyAthletics. Score updates, links to game notes and feature stories and breaking news are all "tweeted."

LAST TIME OUT (vs. AIC, 2/18/12) WEST POINT, N.Y.   -  American International scored twice in the third period and held on to beat Army, 3-2, Saturday night in front of 2,036 fans in an Atlantic Hockey Association game at Tate Rink.

Danny Colvin and Mark Dube scored goals for Army while Mike Hull was credited with a pair of assists but the Black Knights fell to 4-19-7 overall and 3-17-5 in league games. Maurice Alvarez and Kyle Maggard also had assists.

AIC scored twice early in the third period to improve to 7-23-2 overall and 6-17-2 in league contests.

AIC goalie Ben Meisner made 35 saves, while Army's Ryan Leets turned away 25 shots.

Army wore its gold sweaters after a Facebook contest allowed the fans to choose the color. In close voting, fans picked gold by four votes over white with gray in third.

CAPE OPENS: Army has participated in the Cape Cod Classic in each of the past two years and played in front of sold out crowds at the Hyannis Youth and Community Center opposite Colgate.

In 2011-12 Army skated to a 2-2 tie on the heels of a 3-1 loss in the first game of the season.

The 2010-11 contest was the first Division I hockey game played on Cape Cod and both games have been announced as sellouts.

Former Army hockey head coach Jack Riley, a resident of Cape Cod, has dropped the ceremonial puck each of the past two seasons.

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