March 5, 2014
#12 Army at #5 Robert Morris Game Notes
PITTSBURGH, Pa. - An opportunistic Army team heads to fifth-seeded Robert Morris for the opening round of the Atlantic Hockey Association playoffs. The 12th-seeded Black Knights have won two of their last four games and are looking to avenge a pair of regular-season setbacks to the Colonials.
The best-of-three series gets underway on Friday, March 7, and follows with games on Saturday and Sunday (if necessary), respectively. Puck-drop for all three contests is slated for 7:05 p.m. Fans can watch the games online via www.americaone.com or listen to the Army call via Knight Vision (www.goARMYsports.com) or the radio (1390 WEOK-AM and1340 WALL-AM - Hudson Valley; 92.5 WBLR-FM - Watertown, N.Y.).
The Last Meeting
February 1, 2014
Late Robert Morris Goals Crush Army Comeback Bid
Robert Morris scored a pair of goals over the final 2:01 to break a 4-4 tie and escape with a 6-4 victory over Army in the second game of an Atlantic Hockey Association weekend series at 84 Lumber Arena. The Black Knights came storming back from a 3-0 first-period deficit with two goals in each of the final two frames but could not hold off the Colonial in the final minutes.
Army is 5-14 in AHA playoff games, while Robert Morris holds a 4-2-2 lead its all-time series with the Black Knights. The two teams have never met in an AHA playoff game.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Television • None
Radio • 1340 WALL-AM, 1390 WEOK-AM (Hudson Valley), 92.5 WBLR-FM (Watertown, N.Y.)
Video Webcast • America One Sports • americaone.com (subscription fees apply)
Audio Webcast • Knight Vision • goARMYsports.com (subscription fees apply)
Twitter Updates • @Army_Hockey
Live Statistics • goARMYsports.com (hockey schedule page)
Regular-season champion Mercyhurst, Bentley, Air Force and UConn secured first-round byes in the 2014 Atlantic Hockey Association playoffs as the remaining 10 teams battle it out in best-of-three opening round series this weekend. Holy Cross hosts RIT, Robert Morris welcomes Army, Sacred Heart heads to Canisius and Niagara hosts AIC. Games will be played on March 7, 8 and 9 (if necessary). The first round winners will then be re-seeded and travel to the top four seeds for a best two-out-of-three quarterfinal series, which will begin Friday, March 14.
The four winners will then travel to the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y. with the highest remaining seed facing the lowest remaining seed in the first semifinal, with the other two remaining seeds facing off in the second semifinal on Friday, March 21.
The two semifinal winners will then face-off in the championship game on Saturday, March 22, with the NCAA Tournament automatic berth on the line.
Army last advanced out of the first round with a quarterfinal series in 2008-09. Prior to that season, the Black Knights appeared in the AHA semifinals under head coach Brian Riley in 2007-08.
INSIDE THE SERIES
Army and Robert Morris met for the first time in the 2010-11 season, the Colonials' first as members of the Atlantic Hockey Association. The Colonials took a 4-2-2 lead in the overall series after a pair of wins Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 of this year. Army is 2-1-1 when playing at home and remains in search of its first win at Robert Morris during this weekend's playoffs.
ABOUT THE BLACK KNIGHTS
Army heads into the AHA playoffs coming off back-to-back weekend splits with Connecticut and most recently Holy Cross. The Black Knights edged UConn 4-3 on Feb. 21 and defeated Holy Cross 5-2 a week later. Four of the Black Knights' five wins on the year have come on the road, and seven of the last nine games have been decided by two goals or less.
Freshman forward C.J. Reuschlein continues to shine with 19 points on the year. His 11 goals are tied for the most by an AHA freshman in 2013-14. After registering a fifth multiple-point game of the year in last Friday's win at Holy Cross, sophomore forward Joe Kozlak ties Reuschlein for the team points lead with nine goals and 10 assists. Linemate and rookie Clint Carlisle follows with 17 points on seven goals and 10 assists. Maurice Alvarez (13 points), Willie Faust (12), Shane Hearn (12), Brian Schultz (12), Zak Zaremba (11) and Andrew O'Leary (11) all own double-digit points on the year.
Junior goalie Rob Tadazak has not played since late January due to injury, leaving goaltending duties up to rookies Parker Gahagen and Tanner Creel. Gahagen posted a career-high 45 saves in Army's 5-2 win at Holy Cross last Friday and continues to hold down the starting job. The Buffalo, N.Y., native has made nine starts, owns a .906 save percentage and a 3.61 goals-against average. Creel has made four starts this year and has a .833 save percentage and a 5.06 GAA.
After turning in a pair of stellar performances in the final weekend of the regular season, freshman goaltender Parker Gahagen grabbed Atlantic Hockey Association Travel Team USA Rookie of the Week honors on Tuesday morning. The Buffalo, N.Y., recorded a career-high 45 saves in his second career victory at Holy Cross last Friday night.
Gahagen's 45 saves were the most by an Army player since Ryan Leets '13 made 47 stops at Canisius on Dec. 29, 2012. Thirty-seven of Gahagen's 45 stops came over the final two periods to help secure the 5-2 win. He went on to make 31 saves in a 2-0 setback to the Crusaders on Saturday night at a sold-out Tate Rink.
ABOUT THE COLONIALS
With 31 points on the year Robert Morris (13-16-5, 13-9-5 AHA) captured the fifth seed in for the AHA playoffs and will host 12th-seeded Army this weekend. The Colonials are coming off a 0-1-1 effort during last weekend's home-and-home series with regular-season champion Mercyhurst.
Junior forward Chris Wydo leads the AHA with 23 goals on the year. His 40 points are tied for fourth in the league. Right behind him is sophomore forward Zac Lynch with 36 points (16G, 20A). Lynch's four short-handed points are tied for first in the AHA.
Sophomore goaltender Terry Shafer anchors the defense with a .914 save percentage and a 2.96 goals-against average.
The Colonials are the league's third-best scoring offense (3.26 goals per game) and are tied for sixth in scoring defense (3.06 goals per game). Robert Morris lands third in the league in penalty minutes and are last in the AHA on the penalty kill (74.3 percent).
Freshman forward C.J. Reuschlein enters the playoffs sitting on 19 points (11G, 8A). He is one point shy of becoming the first freshman since Owen Meyer '10 to reach the 20-point plateau. An AHA All-Rookie Team selection, Meyer totaled 29 points (13G, 16A) as a rookie in 2006-07.
• Army head coach Brian Riley directed the Black Knights for his 350th game last Friday night at Holy Cross, a 5-2 Army road victory. The previous 349 games account for his head coaching tenure. Riley also served as an assistant coach at Army from 1989-96 and again from 1999-2004.
• Junior forward Zak Zaremba will play in his 100th career game at Robert Morris Friday night. The Parma, Ohio, native joins senior captain Brian Schultz as the only current players to reach the 100-game threshold this season.
Two of Army's last six games have required overtime and both resulted in one-goal losses. The Black Knights have played in three OT games this season and are 1-2 in those contests. In addition, Army has played in 17 games decided by two goals or less. The Black Knights are 2-5-0 in one-goal games and 1-8-0 in games decided by two goals.
Two of Army's four non-league opponents this season are ranked in the top 10 of both national polls. The Black Knights lost at perennial powerhouse Boston College, which was ranked eighth in both polls at the time of the Nov. 10 game, but owned the No. 1 spot in the nation in both polls for three-straight weeks until dropping to No. 2 this week. The Black Knights later welcomed then-No. 5/5 Providence to Tate Rink on Dec. 20 in their final game of 2013. The Friars currently come in at No. 10 in the national polls.
KEEP UP WITH THE BLACK KNIGHTS
Do you keep tabs on everything Army hockey? If so, be sure to follow the team on Twitter @Army_Hockey and like Army Hockey at West Point on Facebook for exclusive content and up-to-date news. Fans are also highly encouraged to check out Knight Vision for free hockey video features and more at www.goARMYsports.com.
America ONE will again provide video and audio where available of every Atlantic Hockey Association game.
America ONE is the official multimedia provider of the AHA and carries all games home and away. Subscriptions can be purchased monthly or annually. To access games, visit americaonesports.com.