WEST POINT, N.Y. – After Friday night’s disappointing 8-2 loss to Canisius, Army played a physical and defensively sound game in beating the Golden Griffins, 2-0. Shane Hearn scored both goals for Black Knights in their 2-0 win, while Army goaltender Rob Tadazak stood on his head and earned his team the victory.
“I am sure there are some people that would not come back to Tadazak tonight,” said Army coach Brian Riley. “But he is a competitor, and he gave us a chance to win tonight and I was happy to see him bounce back the way he did.”
There were not any goals scored in the first period, but there were plenty of hits. The biggest came from Hearn when he laid a booming open ice body check in the high slot on Canisius’ Matt Grazen.
“My whole life I have been pretty undersized,” Hearn said. “So to play at the next level. I always had to prove myself. So I’ve always been one of the most physical players on every team I played on. I just kind of take pride in that and being able to lay the bigger guys out.”
The second period was more of the same, with both teams keeping up the physical play. The game remained at a standstill until Hearn, receiving a pass at the blue line from Ryan Nick, dangled around a Canisius defenseman and fired a wrist shot at the hash mark of the right circle that snuck over the right shoulder of Canisius goaltender Keegan Asmundson at 11:54.
“One of our defenseman hit me on the wing I was flying down with a little bit of speed,” Hearn said. “Their defenseman kind of stepped and I took it to the middle and the goalie went down. I took a quick shot and got lucky.”
Army kept up the intensity in the third period, but Canisius pressed. On more than one occasion, it looked like Canisius was going to tie the game up, but Tadazak was strong in net.
“We had some opportunities and their goaltender played well,” Canisius coach Dave Smith said. “We had three power plays in the third and we just couldn’t find the net and Army played very well and very hard and earned that victory.”
One of the big saves Tadazak made was a beautiful glove save on Canisius’ top goal scorer, Kyle Gibbons, much to the delight of the crowd.
Tadazak recounted the moment after the game.
“After the season we have had so far, it’s nice to show people that we mean business,” Tadazak said. “I love playing in this building. The fans are some of the best in not only college hockey, but in all of college sports, so it’s nice to give them a win as well.”
Late in the third, with their goaltender pulled, Canisius turned over the puck to Hearn, who skated to the blue line and shot past three Canisius defenders into an empty net to seal the win for Army.
Riley praised Hearn’s play thus far in the season.
“Shane Hearn has been very good, so I am not surprised to see him score two goals. The first goal was a big-time play, and he finished and to get the empty net was obviously big for us.”