By Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public AffairsDecember 14, 2017
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Dec. 14, 2017) -- The All-Army Ice Hockey Team went ahead 2-1 over the Watertown Wolves in the first period and never relinquished the lead as they bested the hometown team, 8-6, Dec. 8 at the Watertown Municipal Arena.
The Wolves mounted a comeback in the second period and began chipping away at a five-point deficit to come within one goal of tying the game.
Capt. Andrew Starczewski scored his second goal of the night in the third period, and Maj. Timothy Murphy netted one in the final 64 seconds of the contest for the All-Army victory.
Also scoring for All-Army were Spc. Mackenzie Gray, 1st Lt. Jonathan Hearn, 1st Lt. Kyle Donnelly, Capt. Cody Omilusik and Capt. Kyle Maggard.
"It was a good win for us, especially (considering) us only coming together two weeks ago against a team that literally does this for a living," Donnelly said.
Assists were recorded by Hearn, 2; Donnelly, 1; Murphy, 1; Gray, 1; Starczewski, 1; Sgt. Evan Hammersley, 2; Capt. Jeffery Fearing, 1; 1st Lt. John Hubbard, 1; Capt. Cody Ikkala, 1; Maj. Michael Long, 1; and Sgt. 1st Class Sean Harjala, 1. Shots on goal were even between the teams at 26 apiece.
Donnelly said that he and the other Soldier-athletes had some doubts about their abilities to challenge a minor professional hockey team.
"Honestly, I think we started out a little bit rusty that first period, but we got our feet under us and obviously put it together and got us the win," he said.
Although not an official game, the Wolves had not lost on home ice this season before this contest. After All-Army went on a scoring spree in the second period, it became a more heated contest with aggressive play on both sides.
"We expected that. They don't want to get a loss to a team that was just put together, but our team is very competitive with great coaching and great systems in play," Gray said. "We just played hard and gave them a run for their money."
Gray said the strategy going into the Wolves scrimmage was "play it fast, play it low."
"Our game is pretty much to get into the zone, play it fast and just grind," Gray said. "When they started to catch us, I think we had gotten a little too comfortable. You can't ever do that against a good team like the Watertown Wolves."
Gray credited goalie Spc. David San Clemente for holding his own against the Wolves, who are in their third season in the Federal Hockey League.
"The Wolves took some great shots on net," Gray said. "San Clemente did great against a team that gets to see the ice every day."
The scrimmages against the Watertown Wolves and West Point Club Hockey Team helped the All-Army Ice Hockey Team prepare for international competition when they face the Canadian Army Ice Hockey Team on Dec. 16. Pre-game ceremonies are set for 3 p.m. at the Watertown Municipal Arena with a game time of 3:30 p.m. Admission is free.
Attendees are welcome to stay for the Watertown Wolves vs. Port Huron Prowlers game that will follow.