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Service Academy Hockey Roundup: Army, Air Force Set for NCAA Clash

Army and Air Force set for NCAA Atlantic Hockey postseason battle

Image provided by Air Force Athletics

Service Academy hockey is winding down, with a majority of ACHA teams already done for the season. However, a handful of teams, including both Army and Air Force NCAA squads, are just gearing up for postseason runs. We’ll pick up where we left off from the last hockey roundup, and get you updated on what to you need to know heading into service academy hockey postseason!

Army/Air Force Set for NCAA Clash

Both Army and Air Force have wrapped up their NCAA Atlantic Hockey regular seasons, and as luck would have it, the Black Knights and Falcons will meet each other in the first round of the Atlantic Hockey conference tournament this coming weekend. The winner of the best-of-three series will advance to the semifinals, and the overall conference tournament champion punches a ticket to the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship tournament.

Army - NCAA Men

Army finished off the season with three straight conference series, splitting with AIC, sweeping Holy Cross, and skating to a loss and a tie against Sacred Heart. The weekend of February 10-12th, the Black Knights fell 5-1 against AIC on the road before bouncing back with a 1-0 win over the Yellow Jackets in the second game on home ice at Tate Rink.

Army spent February 17th and 18th on the road against Holy Cross and skated away with a pair of wins, 2-1 and 3-1, respectively. To close out the regular season, the Black Knights traveled to Sacred Heart on February 25th and were upset 5-2 by the Pioneers. The following day the teams clashed again at Tate Rink for Army’s Senior “K”night and skated to a 6-6 tie. Neither team was able to break the tie in either of the overtime periods.

The Black Knights enter the Atlantic Hockey conference tournament as the #3 seed.

Air Force - NCAA Men

Air Force also finished up their regular season with three conference series. The Falcons welcomed Holy Cross to Colorado Springs perhaps a bit too graciously, allowing the visiting Crusaders to skate away with 3-2 (OT) and 3-2 wins. The Falcons then traveled east to take on Bentley the weekend of February 18th and 19th.

Air Force defeated Bentley 4-1 in the first game, before battling to a 4-4 regulation tie in game two. The second game went to a shootout, and Bentley came away with the shootout win. In the final weekend, the Falcons split against RIT at home.

RIT took Air Force to overtime on February 25th before knocking in the game-winner for a 3-2 OT victory in game one. The Falcons responded the following day with a 1-0 win at home to end the season on a high note. Air Force enters the Atlantic Hockey conference tournament as the #6 seed, and is set to take on Army this weekend at Tate Rink in New York.

ACHA/CHF Men’s Hockey

Lot’s of ground to cover here…

Navy ACHA D1

Navy’s ACHA D1 squad finished off their regular season in dominant fashion, and have punched a ticket to the ACHA D1 Men’s National Championship tournament. The Mids held their annual Crabpot Tournament on February 11th and 12th. After beating Maryland D2 4-0 to open the tournament, Navy defeated Stevenson D2 3-1 in the championship game.

As ECHA regular season champions, the Mids also clinched a first-round bye in the conference postseason tournament. Navy opened tournament play against West Chester, skating away with a close 2-1 victory before advancing to the championship game. The Mids held on for a 3-2 win against William Patterson to claim the ECHA’s postseason tournament championship as well.

The tournament championship helped cement Navy as the final seed at #20 in the ACHA D1 Men’s National Championships. The Mids open tournament play this Thursday, March 10th against #13 Pitt.

Navy D3 (CHF)

After a 3-1 win over Maryland on January 4th, Navy’s D3 squad played a handful of games against ACC Hockey foe Christopher Newport on February 4th and 5th. The Mids were unable to secure a win, losing a close 5-3 battle in game one before getting blown out 8-0 in the second game. Unfortunately, Navy did not qualify for the ACC Hockey postseason tournament, and will turn their attention towards closing out the academic year.

Army ACHA D2

Army finished up the regular season as SECHL regular season champions, going undefeated in regulation in conference play. As such, the Black Knights had a first-round bye in the SECHL postseason tournament. Army took on Marist in the semifinals on February 12th, winning 3-0 to secure a spot in the championship game. The Black Knights then battled back from a 2-1 deficit to force overtime against Clarkson.

Army scored in the extra frame to clinch the SECHL conference tournament championship, and an auto-bid to the ACHA D2 Northeast Regional Tournament. Unfortunately for the Black Knights, the postseason run came to an end during the first round of Regionals. Paired up against #12 Merrimack College, Army was upset 4-3 in overtime. At least the Black Knights can hang their hats on arguably the best season in program history with some incredible benchmarks.

Air Force ACHA D3

After a postponed game against Denver D2, Air Force’s D3 squad hit the road to take on Iowa State and Missouri State. The Falcons escaped with a narrow 2-1 win over Iowa State, before falling in a hard-fought 5-3 loss against Missouri State.

Air Force finished the season ranked #14 in all of ACHA D3 Men’s hockey, but unfortunately had to decline their bid to the ACHA D3 Men’s National Championships.

Coast Guard ACHA D3

Since our last recap, Coast Guard ran the gauntlet of the NECHA’s Colonial Conference postseason tournament from February 10-13th. The Bears opened with a 5-4 win over New Haven, followed by a 3-1 win over Thomas College, before beating Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 4-2, for the championship.

With the postseason conference win, Coast Guard clinched an auto-bid to the ACHA D3 Men’s National Championships as the #19 ranked team in ACHA D3. Seeded 16th in the tournament standings, the Bears begin pool play against #1 Hope College on Thursday, March 10th followed by #8 Central Michigan on Friday and #9 Iowa State on Saturday.

Merchant Marine ACHA D3

After falling to Sacred Heart, 5-3, on February 5th, the Mariners rebounded against Western Connecticut on a Tuesday game (February 8th) with a 2-1 win. Merchant Marine then rattled three more regular season games against MCHC opponents, falling 3-2 to Stevens Institute of Technology (February 11th), 9-2 to SUNY Maritime (February 12th), and 5-4 to Farmingdale in overtime (February 15th).

The Mariners were unfortunately eliminated from MCHC playoff contention, so they will also be looking ahead to the end of the academic year and start of next season.

ACHA Women’s Hockey

Air Force D1

The Air Force Women’s ACHA D1 team wrapped up the 2022 regular season with just two games in February. The Falcons took a short trip north to take on CU Boulder on February 4th, falling 12-1. The USAFA Women followed up with another quick road trip to face off against Denver on February 17th, coming up short again, 12-3.

The Falcons appear done for the season, and will likely be cheering on their NCAA men’s counterparts as Air Force takes on Army this weekend.

Navy D2

Navy’s ACHA D2 Women’s team cruised through the remainder of their regular season schedule in February, straight into a #1 ranking in the Southeast Region and a berth at the ACHA D2 Women’s National Championships. The Mids dismantled Loyola University of Maryland 8-1 at home on February 6th before rattling off three straight road wins: 3-1 over Delaware (February 12th), 5-1 over Rowan (February 19th), and 2-0 over Delaware again (February 20th).

The Navy Women begin Nationals competition next week on March 15th against #4 Pitt, followed by #3 Adrian (March 16th), and #2 Dakota College-Bottineau (March 17th).