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Army men’s hockey: Can Dalton MacAfee create post-season magic for the Black Knights?

The Black Knights are currently in eighth place in the AHA standings with four games remaining

With only four regular season games remaining, the Black Knights currently sit in 8th place in the Atlantic Hockey Association standings with an 8-11-5 overall record. Army’s remaining four games are all AHA contests, and the possibility of a first-round bye in the Atlantic Hockey Championship tournament is not out of the question.

The Black Knights are coming off a thrilling OT victory against AHA foe, Mercyhurst. Down 3-2 late in the third period, Army pulled their goalie and manged to tie the game at 3 goals apiece forcing overtime. Senior captain Dalton MacAfee’s one-knee snapshot with 1.7 seconds remaining in overtime secured the win for Army. It was a big victory for the Black Knights as they finished 3-0-1 against Mercyhurst this season, and also snapped a 10-game losing streak in Atlantic Hockey contests. This is just the momentum they need heading into the final four games of the season.

In overtime, Dalton MacAfee scored with 1.7 seconds remaining to give Army the dramatic come from behind win.

The Black Knights will take on Sacred Heart this weekend in a home-and-home series, playing in Connecticut on Friday evening before returning to the friendly confines of Tate Rink on Saturday night. Army split their previous two games with Sacred Heart, suffering a 4-2 loss at home, and following up with a 4-1 road victory the following day.

The following weekend, Army will face Bentley, which has received Top 20 votes in the latest NCAA hockey polls. The Black Knights have also split their previous two games with Bentley - a close 3-2 win followed by a 4-2 loss, both on the road. Hopefully, Army can use home ice to their advantage a closeout the season with two wins against Bentley.

Perhaps the biggest highlight of Army’s season so far has been the selection of their captain, Dalton MacAfee, as a nominee for the 2019 Hobey Baker award. Established in 1981, and regarded as the Heisman Trophy of hockey, the Hobey Baker award has never been awarded to an Army player. It would be fitting for MacAfee to be selected this year given Hobey Baker’s military service.

Regardless, the Black Knights will look to MacAfee to lead them into the post-season, where a run through the Atlantic Hockey Championship tournament would mean an automatic bid to the NCAA Regional tournament. Army has yet to win a conference tournament or make an NCAA tournament appearance.