The Black Knights were scheduled for six road
games in their first seven outings, including a pair at
Bemidji State and four road contests to start the Atlantic
"You could be looking at coming out of
the chute without winning a game," Riley said.
It's not like Riley hadn't seen that before.
His 2005-06 team dropped its first seven games and played
one game over .500 the rest of the way.
The big difference this season, though, is
Riley can count on a veteran lineup chock full of seniors.
Army did lose three close games to Bemidji and visiting
RPI but bounced back with a 4-1 win at Connecticut and a
5-2 triumph at Holy Cross last Saturday – the Crusaders
bounced back with a 3-1 win on Sunday.
"I think your goal every weekend is to
come up with something, and so far we have been able to
do that in league play," said Riley, whose team sits
in fourth place, just three points off the lead.
"I don't think we've had a bad game.
… We have competed. We have been able to get shots
on net, which is something we tried to focus on in practice."
Army was 7-6-1 in league road contests last
season, and has picked up where it left off.
"Experience certainly helps you when
you have challenges at the start of the year, and that includes
playing on the road," Riley said.
Army's top line of Luke Flicek (2-5—7),
Bryce Hollweg (1-4—5) and Owen Meyer (3-1—4)
has done the bulk of scoring. Second-year Wisconsin transfer
Ken Rowe netted his first pair last weekend. Even defenseman
Chase Podsiad got involved with his first two-goal outing.
Flicek had a career-high three assists in
Saturday's win, the 19th time in his career he has posted
The injury bug, though, is beginning to bite
after taking off most of last season. Forwards Bill Leahy
and Biff McNally both went down with shoulder injuries against
RPI and are expected to miss at least two more weeks. Lyle
Gal, though, is expected to return to action this weekend
against American International.
SEEN AND HEARD IN ATLANTIC HOCKEY
Mercy Me: Mercyhurst has
already played, and lost to Ohio State, Notre Dame and Maine
(twice) on the road. This weekend, coach Rick Gotkin takes
his squad to East Lansing for a date with defending national
champion Michigan State.
Last season he took his team to Ferris State,
Maine (a tie) and Denver. The year before that it was a
trip to Michigan Tech (a split). In 2004-05, the Lakers
lost twice at Wisconsin and Colgate.
I have had this conversation with Gotkin
for a couple years now. Every season he pieces together
the toughest schedule in Atlantic Hockey, and I ask him
why he takes on such an arduous task. He says playing great
programs year after year is an attractive thing for recruits.
Savoring Boston at West Point:
More than 66 million people watched all or part of Sunday's
NFL tilt between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis
Colts. At least 700 people did not because they were either
watching or playing hockey at the Hart Center as Army and
Holy Cross did battle on ESPNU.
"Obviously, the best team (Patriots)
won," beamed Army's Brian Riley, who has spent more
than half of his life at West Point but still has strong
New England ties thanks to his father, Hall of Fame coach
Jack Riley. "It's been a good ride being a Red Sox
fan as well. I've enjoyed the last couple of weeks, for
Army Halts Hart-Attack: When
Army beat Holy Cross 5-2 on Friday, it snapped an eight-game
losing streak in the Hart Center. Army's previous win in
Worcester, Mass., came in February 2003.
"It felt like this cloud that hung over
you just disappeared," said Army coach Brian Riley.
"It surely felt good to finally get a win in there."
Most teams have some sort of road bugaboo.
"I think some buildings, it's hard to
explain," Riley said. "You just feel more comfortable
in some. For whatever reason, Holy Cross and the Hart Center
hasn't been kind to us."
Great Weekend Getaway
Force at RIT
It's the one seed versus the two seed,
the regular-season champ versus the playoff champ.
November brings the first Atlantic Hockey showdown
of the season. Air Force makes its second road trip
of the season, and is coming off a pair of weekend
splits with Bentley and Mercyhurst. RIT starts a crucial
six-game home stretch where the Tigers can put an
early stranglehold on the league. Both teams will
be counting on sophomore goalies who burst onto the
scene last season: Andrew Volkening of Air Force and
RIT's Louis Menard. On Air Force's last visit to the
Big R, the Techies escaped with a pair of one-goal
While you're there: Stick around
for Sunday's AHL game between the Rochester Americans
and Chicago Wolves at 6 p.m.
Joe Calvi has the hot hand in nets. He has allowed
one goal in each of the last three games and stopped
94 of 97 shots as the Falcons posted a tie and win
against AIC and toppled Sacred Heart. The freshman
has a 1.56 goals against and .946 save percentage.
ran a little hot on Tuesday night as Bentley squeaked
out a 3-1 win over visiting Sacred Heart. The teams
were whistled for 22 penalties and the officials handed
out three misconduct calls. Temper, temper, boys.
As a player at Brown (1979-83), Riley said
he had bad memories of Cornell's Lynah Rink. "It was
probably the best place to play, I thought, but a rink we
never had success at," he said. He also recalled visits
to Clarkson's old home, Walker Arena, and Appleton Arena
on the campus of St. Lawrence.
In Atlantic Hockey, Air Force's Cadet Ice
Arena and the Hart Center rank as two tough places for Riley's
Riley's message for this weekend is don't
let the standings fool you: his Black Knights have lost
at least one game at AIC in three of the past four seasons.
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM
OF THE BAG
• Coaching milestones – Air Force
coach Frank Serratore earned his 200th collegiate victory
on Oct. 20 at Bentley (he now has 202 in 15 seasons). Serratore
needs two more wins to become the school's all-time leader
with 155. Chuck Delich (1986-97) and John Matchefts (1975-85)
own the mark at 154. RIT coach Wayne Wilson is two wins
shy of 150 at the school. Wilson is in his ninth season.
• Player milestones – The next
point for Hobey Baker candidate Eric Ehn of Air Force will
be the 127th of his career, tying him for 19th on the all-time
• Air Force is off to a 4-2 start for
the third time on coach Frank Serratore's watch.
• Here's an easy one for you non-mathematicians.
Army goalie Josh Kassel has faced exactly 1,000 shots, and
stopped 913 of them. What is his save percentage? (even
the safety-school kids should get this one).
• Bentley's Tuesday night win over Sacred
Heart snapped a four-game losing streak to the Pioneers.
Bentley's last win over SHU came on Nov. 5, 2005.
• Canisius has struggled with Holy Cross
in recent years, posting a 2-12-4 mark in the last five
seasons. The Golden Griffins are 1-5-2 at the Hart Center
during that stretch.
• Mercyhurst and Air Force have met
six times, with the road team winning the first five meetings.
The Lakers posted a 5-3 win at Cadet Ice Arena last Saturday.
Air Force was the first team to hold serve at home, earning
a 6-2 triumph on Saturday.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report. Ken McMillan can be reached