West Point, NY- Army left Springfield disappointed after an American International comeback win on Thursday night. The Black Knights regrouped and rematched with the Yellow Jackets on Friday night at Tate Rink and earned their first win of the season 2-0.
Jake Felker opened the scoring 8:06 into the game by banging in a rebound off Jake Kucharski’s pads for his first goal of the season. Daniel Haider shot the puck for the goal’s assist. The remainder of the period was even in the shot counter 11-11, but sophomore goalkeeper Gavin Abric kept the score 1-0 into the break.
AIC had their best period in the second. The Jackets outshot the Knights 14-8 and had three of their nine power play shots, including their best ones. Their efforts went unrewarded as Abric kept the game 1-0 into the second break.
Army tilted the shot counter their way in the third, 16-11 and closed their first win of the season 2-0. Junior center John Keranen landed the empty-netter for his first goal of the season with 40 seconds left in the game. Abric, a Hayward, WI, native notched 36 saves for his first collegiate victory and shutout.
“Growing up in a small town, I’m used to getting a lot of shots,” said Abric. “With that, I think it helps you stay focused; getting more shots than less shots. That stuff doesn’t really faze me.”
The former New Jersey Hitman boasts a .961 save percentage.
A desperate player. Gavin Abric playing with a regular skater’s stick in net. And he’s making saves. Nice work by the @ArmyWP_Hockey Goalie and the crowd cheered for him at the break when he went to get his regular stick. #Hockeypic.twitter.com/IEns62MUU6
AIC drops to 1-4-0 overall and 1-1-0 in conference.
“I thought it was the most complete effort of the season so far for us,” commented a surprisingly positive Yellow Jacket Head Coach Eric Lang. “You gotta get a little puck luck. You get what you deserve so if you’re around the net a lot, chances are you can get a little more lucky. But Army does a great job… and there’s a reason why we couldn’t get to one.”
Carolina Hurricanes draft pick Jake Kucharski stopped 31 of 32 shots faced in net.
AIC plays a home-and-home series against the Quinnipiac Bobcats next weekend. Friday night’s game is at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, MA, at 7:05 PM. Saturday’s game is at Frank Perrotti Jr. Arena in Hamden, CT at 4 pm.
Army’s win is also their first in conference play. The Black Knights improve to 1-5-1 overall and 1-2-1 in Atlantic play.
“In a game like this, coming into the third period, we’ve been in this situation all year,” commented Black Knights Head Coach Brian Riley. “And I think until you get on the right side of it its hard to know what you need to do. This was important for us because we don’t have another league game for three weeks.
Army hosts Princeton next week on Saturday. Puck drops at 4:05 PM at Tate Rink in West Point.