The NCAA hockey season is back in full swing as conference tournaments and the Frozen Four are just around the corner. Meanwhile, ACHA action is chugging along as well, meaning a number of our Service Academy hockey teams are back in action. There’s been plenty of hockey action since the New Year began, so let’s get right into it.
Army and Air Force’s NCAA Division I squads both saw action before clashing head-to-head this past weekend. The Black Knights participated in the Vegas Golden Knights’ Fortress Invitational along with Cornell, Ohio State and Providence. Unfortunately for Army (ranked No. 20 in the nation going into the tournament), they were unable to keep up with their ranked opponents.
Army faced off against Providence to open tournament play, skating to a 3-1 loss. Providence benefited heavily from having Vegas draft pick, Jack Dugan, who was named tournament MVP. The Black Knights then played Ohio State in the consolation game. After three periods, the score was tied 2-2. Army again suffered misfortune as the Buckeyes managed to score early in the overtime period for a 3-2 win.
On the other side, Air Force started off 2020 with more Atlantic Hockey action - splitting a pair of games with AIC (a 4-1 win and 5-1 loss). Following the split, the Falcons traveled northwest to take on Army. Game 1 was an exciting battle, and regulation ended with a 3-3 tie. Army took the shootout win to squeeze out an extra point behind a lone goal from Kevin Dineen.
Game 2 was just as exciting; however, the Black Knights surged in the second period with three goals to outlast Air Force, 5-2. Army remains in second place in Atlantic Hockey standings behind Sacred Heart, but the Falcons are closing the gap. Air Force continues Atlantic Hockey play next weekend with two games at home against Niagara University. Army travels north of the border for its annual game against Canada’s Royal Military College.
Team USA Military returned from its international foray in Germany, going 1-2 with a lone win over EV Berchtesgarden and losses against the Baden Rhinos and the Freising Bears. The players are now back with their respective academy teams to close out the 2019-20 season.
In ACHA D2 play, Army battled Montclair State to a 1-1 tie before earning the overtime victory. Those points will benefit the Black Knights as they seek to climb the SECHL standings and put themselves in a competitive position for the post-season.
Navy’s D2 squad competed with Coast Guard and the Merchant Marines in the Service Leaders of Tomorrow tournament. The Midshipmen opened play against D3 Massachusetts Maritime, losing 4-2. Navy then faced Coast Guard, managing to pull within a goal before falling 6-3 to the Bears.
This weekend...the Commandant’s Cup is on the line pic.twitter.com/uQJkbrknmg— USMMA Hockey (@USMMAPuck) January 9, 2020
ACHA D3 has seen a flurry of activity from service academies. Coast Guard and the Merchant Marine Academy kicked off 2020 with the Service Leaders of Tomorrow tournament. The teams played head to head, ending in a 6-6 regulation tie. Coast Guard took control in the shootout, scoring two goals to take the win.
The Merchant Marines went on to beat SUNY Maritime, 5-3, in their second game of the day. Coast Guard lost to eventual tournament winners Massachusetts Maritime, 8-1. In separate D3 action, Air Force’s D3 squad took on Colorado School of Mines in conference play, skating to an easy 6-1 victory over the Orediggers.