Army skates to win against Norwich in an impressive ACHA debutBy Army Inline Hockey Public Affairs Division It was a hostile Saturday night crowd as the Army Inline Hockey team traded in their wheels for ice skates to compete against the
cadets from Norwich University Nov. 10.
The Norwich freshmen (known there as Rooks) made their excitement known throughout the entire game as they unceasingly chanted, cheered and shook the entire arena in Northfield, Vt. In spite of this being their first appearance of the year, the Black Knights looked like a well-organized platoon of future officers; each line played their part, whether that was generating scoring opportunities or crashing into bodies.
Army’s junior forward and assistant captain Jeff Lesmeister won the opening faceoff to get the season started for the Black Knights. Despite a first period that was evenly matched, aside from multiple, bone-shattering, open ice hits from senior defenseman and captain Brett Kroll, Norwich ended the period with a one goal lead.
The Black Knights were far from finished, however, as they grinded their way into the second period, led by pivotal hits from junior Kevin Connors and sophomore Will Jacques. Their aggressiveness culminated in a tying, blue-collar goal by senior captain Frankie Candelmo on assists from Lesmeister and Kroll. Minutes later, Army earned the go-ahead goal as freshmen defenseman James Morsch ripped a snap shot from the point that proved to be too much for the Norwich goalkeeper to handle.
Army went into the second intermission with the 2-1 lead, following Morsch’s tally. Less than a minute into the third period, after a relentless forecheck by the Black Knights, junior forward Rob Snook centered a pass to Lesmeister in front of the net, who slid the puck past the goalie after forcing him out of position with a quick move. Norwich would cut the deficit during a five-on-three power play midway through the third period.
With just under two minutes to play, Army fell a skater short on a “Too Many Players on the Ice” infraction. The Army penalty kill, led by Michael Lesmeister in net and senior defenseman and captain Brian Tumolillo, was rock solid, pouncing on every puck and hustling to cover for their man disadvantage.
With ten seconds to play and a faceoff in their own zone, Army sealed their victory as J. Lesmeister cleared the zone following a Candelmo faceoff win. The two players now lead Army’s scoring with a goal and an assist each, and M. Lesmeister picked up 33 saves, along with the win.