Hockey Paladins travel to West Point this weekend
The last time RMC Redmen, later the Paladins, won a hockey game at West Point was 1987. 30 years ago! The score was 4-3. It was last year behind the bench, for Coach Wayne Kirk – it was his 4th win
out of six games against Army. As an aside – he also led the ‘Redmen to a very impressive 5 wins, 0 losses and 1 tie record in head-to-head competition with U.S. Air Force Academy.
Back to the main topic: For a whole lot of good reasons, this game, for years, was considered a classic. It no longer has the status or emotional interest, it once did.
Once upon a time, there would be a buzz around the campus leading up to the big weekend game whether it was played at Kingston or at West Point. Not this year, at least, in the circles that I travel.
Nevertheless, this encounter will be a good one. Coach Richard Lim will have his players well prepared. At the same token, Coach Brian Riley, who has been around this game since his dad, Jack, used to coach against Danny McLeod will be ‘fired up’ and cover all the bases too.
So, what should happen?
Standings (to date) in 2016-17 league play:
Army West Point – 10-6-1 AHA – good for 2nd place in the 11 team (NCAA Div 1) Atlantic Hockey Conference;
RMC: 4 wins – 17 losses & 1 overtime loss. Last place in the 10 team OUA East Division.
Don’t let what appears ‘on paper’ fool anyone into thinking, that this match-up, will be a one sided affair in favour of West Point.
The Paladins are a much better team than their won / loss record would indicate.
After an impressive 4-2 win this past Friday, against Nipissing Lakers the team couldn’t make it two in a row, as they dropped a tight 2-1 contest at McGill. The Redmen from Montreal at the time were ranked #3 in the country. Over these 22 games they have competed at a high level in close to 20 of them.
During the same weekend, the Army West Point squad split games, at Tate Rink, against Mercyhurst. They were on the short-end of a 3-1 decision on Friday and bounced back with an impressive 4-1 the following evening.
With respect, West Point are not as strong as McGill or the top six in the OUA.
Don’t be surprised if the Paladins break the 30 year drought. Regardless of the outcome – everyone are winners if camaraderie, and hard fought but clean competition sets the tone and prevails.
Hockey aside, both institutions are in the business of producing leaders. The respective hockey teams are important parts of the West Point and RMC programs. However, when everything is said and done – the ultimate aim is to stay focused on creating those leaders. Both Richard Lim and Brian Riley are very well focused.
West Point Weekend – much more than hockey…
While the hockey game is the ‘flagship’ activity, the weekend is much more than just hockey.
Approximately 100 cadets will be travelling to West Point, NY on Thursday, 19 Jan. The plan is to have our cadets attend classes with their hosts – coincidentally, Inauguration Day. The classes will be interesting, to say the least.
Members representing the band, highland dancers, chess, climbing, debate, and judo clubs; along with the rowing and teakwondo teams will participate.
The weekend is a long standing tradition of camaraderie and cultural exchange between RMC and USMA. Cadets will have the opportunity to engage in social, athletic, and military activities with their counterparts.
While the RMC contingent will be heading south an equal number of cadets from West Point will be heading north on the Hi-way I-81. They will take part in a number of mostly outdoor ‘fun’ activities on and around the college grounds.
The weekend promises to be a memorable one for all concerned.