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Service Academy Hockey Roundup: Midseason check-in on NCAA and ACHA teams

Service Academy hockey teams look to shake off the holiday rust as the back half of the 2021-22 season gets underway.

Army topped Air Force 8-3 on January 29, 2022.
Photo: Army Athletics

All service academy hockey teams are already a few games deep into the new year. For some of the teams, it’s time to hit midseason stride and jockey for solid postseason positioning, while for others 2022 presents a fresh slate of games to turn things around.

Here’s what you might have missed in service academy hockey…

ACHA/CHF Men’s Hockey

Navy ACHA D1

Navy’s D1 squad hit the ground running to start 2022. The Mids played a total of four games in January, claiming four wins over Temple, West Chester, Towson, and Lehigh. Navy rounded it out its regular-season schedule this past weekend with two wins, one over George Mason, and then a blowout victory, 9-1, over Towson.

The Midshipmen will host the annual Crabpot Tournament this upcoming weekend, welcoming Towson, Stevenson, and Maryland to McMullen Arena. Towson and Stevenson open the tournament Friday afternoon at 5:30pm ET, with Navy vs Maryland following at 8:30pm. The losing teams will skate in the Consolation game at 5:40pm on Saturday, and the winning teams will face off at 8:30pm for the Championship game.

Navy D3 (CHF)

Navy’s D3 team took part in a Military Appreciation event hosted by the Bridgeport Islanders of the AHL in Bridgeport, CT. The Mids took on the Coast Guard Academy and Massachusetts Maritime and unfortunately came away with two losses.

Bad luck continued to strike for Navy D3 as games on January 21st were cancelled and a two game series against Denison the following weekend was postponed. In a bright spot, the Midshipmen were able to schedule a last-minute matchup against Maryland’s ACHA D3 squad, skating away with a 3-1 victory over the Terps. Up next is a road game against Neumann University this Friday at 9pm ET.

Army ACHA D2

Army, as well as Navy D3, Coast Guard, and the Merchant Marine Academy ultimately decided to withdraw from the Service Leaders of Tomorrow Tournament, originally scheduled for January 7th-9th. A number of factors, including poor communication from tournament organizers as well as a hefty entry fee for each team, led to the unanimous decision.

The Black Knights then took on Marist in a pair of games January 21st and 23rd, coming away two wins plus a #6 ranking in the ACHA D2’s Northeast Region. A last-minute outdoor matchup against Stockton last weekend fell through due to the inclement weather and Sunday’s league matchup against Central Connecticut State fell through due to CCSU having too many players out with COVID.

With the game resulting in a forfeit and Army win, the Black Knights have clinched the SECHL Regular Season title (going undefeated in league play). Army also scheduled a final exhibition matchup with Rutgers, winning handily, 10-1. Next up is the SECHL Tournament this weekend, where Army has a first-round bye.

Air Force ACHA D3

The Falcons opened up 2022 on the road, taking on New Mexico January 7th and 8th. Air Force split against New Mexico, losing 6-2 before rebounding for a 4-3 win in the second game. Next, the Falcons welcomed Akron to the Cadet Ice Arena, sending the Zips home with a pair of losses.

Colorado School of Mines became the next victim to run into USAFA’s buzzsaw, falling 5-0 and 4-1 to the Falcons January 21st and 22nd. A January 6th matchup against University of Denver’s ACHA D2 team was ultimately postponed. Air Force currently holds the #20 spot in ACHA D3 rankings with a 14-5 overall record.

Coast Guard ACHA D3

Despite pulling out of the Service Leaders of Tomorrow Tournament, Coast Guard participated in a Military Appreciation event on January 8th along with Navy D3 and the Merchant Marine Academy D3 teams. The Bears dismantled the Merchant Marines, 10-1, before defeating Navy, 6-1, to win the event.

A January 22nd matchup against UConn was postponed, and Coast Guard dropped a hard-fought 5-2 loss to Worcester Polytechnic Institute the following day. The Bears had to postpone another game, this time against Harvard on January 29th, but did see action this past weekend against New Haven (no results found) and Worcester Polytechnic (a close 2-1 loss).

Next up for Coast Guard is the NECHA playoffs this weekend.

Merchant Marine ACHA D3

The Merchant Marine Academy also opened up 2022 in the Military Appreciation event in early January with Navy and Coast Guard. The Mariners loss 10-1 to the Coast Guard Academy, but managed a win over Navy. USMMA followed up with a narrow 1-0 win over SUNY Maritime College on January 15th.

The following weekend the Mariners hosted a pair of games, beating Suffolk Country Community College, 3-1, and losing a tight 7-6 game to Sacred Heart in overtime. Much like other service academy teams, USMMA had games on January 28th and 29th, against Farmingdale State and Western Connecticut State, postponed.

The Mariners fell to Sacred Heart, 5-3, this past weekend, and will make up one game against Western Connecticut State this week.


ACHA Women’s Hockey

Air Force

The Falcon’s Women’s team has struggled against fellow ACHA Women’s D1 competition. Air Force has played four games thus far in 2022, including a matchup against Colorado State, two games against Utah, and one against the University of Colorado. USAFA’s Women’s team unfortunately fell against all 3 opponents, losing by double digit margins in all but one instance.

Navy

Navy’s Women’s team has fared much better at the ACHA Women’s D2 level. The Mids skated away with two wins in January, over Rowan and Loyola University of Maryland, respectively. With a 13-1 record, USNA’s Women’s team is ranked #2 in the Women’s D2 Southeast Region.

Next up is a matchup against No. 1 Delaware this Saturday.


Army — NCAA Men

Due to concerns and considerations related to COVID, Army dropped its annual contest with Canada’s Royal Military College and added a last-minute New Year’s Day game against Penn State over the holiday break. The Black Knights fell to the Nittany Lions, 5-3. Army then rallied to tie RPI the following day, 3-3, before splitting games with Atlantic Hockey foe, Canisius on January 7th and 8th.

The Black Knights have since lost one game to Sacred Heart before splitting their weekend series against Holy Cross January 21st and 22nd. Army then travelled to Colorado Springs to take on conference and fellow service academy rival, Air Force. The Black Knights stormed out to beat the Falcons in Game 1, 8-3, before falling the following day in a tight 3-2 loss.

Army split again this past weekend against conference foe Mercyhurst, keeping the Black Knights in the middle of the Atlantic Hockey pack at #5. Army faces the top Atlantic Hockey team in AIC this Thursday and Saturday.

Three Black Knights have also been nominated for the 2021-22 Hobey Baker Award, including senior captain Colin Bilek who was nominated for the award last season as well. Bilek is joined by goaltender Gavin Abric and junior defenseman Anthony Firriolo.

Air Force — NCAA Men

The Air Force Falcons have kicked off the new year with a flurry of Atlantic Hockey contests. The Falcons dropped their first two games to AIC on January 1st and 2nd before rebounding against Niagara with a two-game sweep on the 14th and 15th. Building upon that positive momentum, Air Force completed another sweep, this time over Mercyhurst on January 21st and 22nd.

The Falcons then split with Army the following weekend, losing the first game before rebounding to take a 3-2 win in front of their home crowd. Air Force split again this past weekend against conference opponent, Canisius. Up next for the Falcons is a pair of home games this weekend against Holy Cross.

With a strong showing in January conference play, Air Force has climbed the Atlantic Hockey standings and sits just behind Army at #6.

Stay tuned as Army and Air Force start to wrap up their regular seasons and head into the Atlantic Hockey conference tournament, the first step towards making a run at further postseason play.