Roberts is Army's Anchor
Graduation is less than seven months
away for Brad Roberts and a whole new life awaits
Most college seniors are anxious about
heading into an unknown professional world, many of
whom don’t have jobs laid out just yet, while
others are eager to stay in school as a way to avoid
the responsibilities of life.
Not Roberts. He already has a job waiting
for him, as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army,
and his responsibilities could include leading platoons
of soldiers into combat. It is a role the U.S. Military
“I am getting ready to take charge
and do the best that I can to lead the sons and daughters
of the U.S. Army,’’ Roberts said. “I
am excited but nervous, of course, to make sure I
have learned everything I can.’’
The demands on a West Point student
are great, both academically and militarily. That
is why playing sports is so important to the Cadets,
because it is a piece of normalcy that they can hold
on to. In Roberts’ case, that means playing
goalie for the Army Black Knights, a job he has performed
very well for three-plus seasons.
Roberts is going to rank very high in
the steeped history of Army hockey. Save for a knee
injury last season and the very rare blowout loss,
the Cassville, N.Y., product will have played just
about every possible minute for the Black and Gold
since his arrival.
“You always want to be on the
ice as an upperclassman,’’ said Roberts,
“and as a goaltender you feed off of playing
time and being there for your team.’’
At no time has Roberts played better
than in the all-important service academy games against
Air Force and the Royal Military Academy, Canada’s
version of West Point. Roberts has posted a stellar
8-2 record in those games, amassing a 1.60 goals-against
average and .947 save percentage and posting one shutout
against the Falcons and Paladins.
Winless Army was in dire need for a
victory, and a leg up in recruiting, as it headed
into last weekend’s home series with Air Force,
the last time the two schools would meet as non-league
foes. Next season Air Force joins Atlantic Hockey
and the teams could meet as many as four times during
the regular season.
Playing in front of a sold-out Veteran’s
Day crowd at Tate Rink, Roberts blanked Air Force,
3-0, with a 26-save performance. It marked Army’s
1,000th career victory, and was the first time Army
had shut out Air Force since Feb. 17, 1996. It was
Roberts’ fifth career shutout, moving him to
sixth on the school’s all-time list.
"Roberts was the best player on
the ice," said Air Force coach Frank Serratore.
Roberts wasn’t through. The next
night he turned aside 19 shots as Army prevailed in
overtime, 4-3. It marked Roberts’ second sweep
of Air Force, the first time coming during his breakout
freshman season at the most unlikely of places, in
Colorado Springs. The victory also gave the Army Class
of 2006 the distinction of being the only graduating
class to ever post a winning record (5-3) against
"What can I say about Brad?"
Army coach Brian Riley said. "He's a big-time
player. He looks forward to (service academy games)
and he backs it up. I'm proud of these seniors to
go out with a winning record against Air Force."
The effort against Air Force made Roberts
the natural choice to be named Atlantic Hockey’s
goaltender of the week. Roberts ranks 51st nationally
in save percentage (.892) and 49th in goals against
average (3.11). He leads the league in most saves
made (247), and just cracked the 5,000-minutes played
mark for his career.
Roberts owns a 5-2 record against Air
Force with a 1.85 goals against average and .943 save
percentage. Scott Hamilton is the only other Army
goalie to post a winning record (4-3-1) against Air
The Air Force games are thrilling for
every Army hockey player but the biggest rivalry remains
the annual game against the Royal Military College.
This season’s matchup takes place on February
11 in Kingston, Ontario, where Army is sure to face
a hostile crowd.
Roberts has backstopped three victories
against RMC, one of only two Army goaltenders to do
so, and could become the first to go 4-0 against the
The Air Force sweep during his freshman
season and all the RMC victories remain Roberts’
favorite ice hockey memories at West Point, although
he is sure to add last week’s effort to the
Great Weekend Getaway
Heart at Mercyhurst (Fri.-Sat.)
The league gets a first versus second
showdown for the second week in a row as runner-up
Sacred Heart heads West to take on league-leader
Mercyhurst. The Lakers lead the series 9-7-2,
which included a home sweep in March.
While You're There: If you
skip the series nightcap, you could commit college
hockey blasphemy and head to Tullio Arena, where
the Erie Otters host the London Knights in an
Ontario Hockey League game. If you are feeling
ambitious, make the two-hour trek to Niagara
Falls and watch Niagara take on future Atlantic
Hockey member RIT in a 2 p.m. Saturday tilt
and still get back to Erie in time. Erie goes
country on Sunday with a concert featuring Gretchen
Wilson, Big & Rich and Cowboy Troy. If you
prefer something a little harder, drive 100
miles down to Cleveland and visit the Rock ’n
Roll Hall of Fame.
of Holy Cross scored five goals in a series
split with Mercyhurst. In an unbelievable start
to his weekend, McGregor tallied three first-period
goals in a 10-3 win. The senior forward now
has seven goals and five assists.
and Bentley went from playing beautiful hockey
to brutish hockey in the span
of one day. The clubs combined for seven penalties
in the series opener and then logged 41 infractions
in the nightcap, 11 of those calls coming in
the last minute of play. True fans won’t
stand for such nonsense.
AND HEARD IN ATLANTIC HOCKEY
Demanding more – One
would think that averaging four goals per game would
be satisfying to most coaches, but not Holy Cross
mentor Paul Pearl.
“I think it is a little misleading
because we scored 10 goals in one game so that kind
of pumped up our stats,’’ Pearl said.
“We need to get more scoring from our second
and third lines. The Pierre Napert-Frenette, Tyler
McGregor and Blair Bartlett line has held up (its)
end of the bargain, but the offensive production of
some of the other guys hasn't been what we expected.
We have been fortunate that the first line has been
scoring as much as they have but if we are going to
be successful in the long run we need to get more
from players from those other lines.’’
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• A perfect 10: Holy Cross established
an Atlantic Hockey record for goals scored in a 10-3
rout of Mercyhurst on Nov. 11. The seven goals scored
in the first period is also a league record and all
came within a 15-minute span. Tyler McGregor scored
all three of his goals in that period. In all, seven
different Crusaders scored and nine others contributed
assists, meaning every forward who dressed got a point.
• It’s in the name: This
week’s rookie of the week was none other than
Bear Trapp of Sacred Heart, a member of Inside College
Recruiting All-Name Team. Trapp had both game-winning
goals in the Pioneers’ weekend sweep of American
• Doing the Conn-Can in Buffalo:
Kick your feet up for a weekend series pitting Connecticut
and Canisius at Buffalo State Arena. The clubs played
on the same weekend last season with Canisius prevailing
4-0 and 5-1. The Golden Griffins added a 3-2 win in
Storrs. The Huskies had swept the season’s three-game
series in 2003-04, winning twice in Storrs.
• All aboard: This weekend marks
only the second time this season that all eight Atlantic
Hockey teams are playing two-game series.
• Home on the road: Army has not
enjoyed much road success in recent seasons, but the
Black Knights have managed to take four of six points
on Bentley’s home ice the past two seasons.
The clubs tied 3-3 in Waltham last season, and Army
posted a win and tie at the John Ryan Skating Arena
• Mass. Pike leanings: Holy Cross
has won 10 and tied one in the last 11 meetings with
American International. The tie came last season in
Worcester. The Crusaders have won six in a row at
the Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield. AIC last
downed Holy Cross on home ice on Feb. 2, 2001.
• Looking PHAT: Sacred Heart piled
up 14 goals in a pair of wins over American International.
The last time the Pioneers had that much offense in
a weekend was when they scored 15 goals in a weekend
sweep of Bentley (6-3 and 9-1) on Jan. 18-19, 2002.
• Last of the home cooking: Holy
Cross plays six of its first seven Atlantic Hockey
games at home, culminating with the Friday matchup
with AIC. The Crusaders are 3-2 in league play at
the Hart Center.
• Time to bribe the schedule-maker:
In stark contrast to a generous schedule for Holy
Cross, Army plays its first eight league games on
the road. So far, the Black Knights are 0-2 at Holy
Cross and 0-1-1 at Canisius.
• Looking forward to a Turkey
hangover?: When you’re not fighting for the
last drumstick, fans in the Capital District of New
York might want to take in a hockey two-fer at RPI.
The Rensselaer Holiday Tournament features a twinbill
on Black Friday (that’s the day after Thanksgiving
for all of you non-bargain shoppers) of Holy Cross
versus RPI and Providence.
A variety of sources were utilized
in the compilation of this report.