Riley earns 200th victory in shutout of Bentley

December 13th, 2020 | Sports
Army West Point head coach Brian Riley (left) earned his 200th victory at the helm of the Black Knights program in a 2-0 shutout of Atlantic Hockey Association rival Bentley on Saturday at Tate Rink. In his first career appearance in net, sophomore goaltender Justin Evenson recorded a shutout for Army’s first win of the 2020-21 campaign. Photo Courtesy of Army Athletic Communications

By Nick Lovera
Army Athletic Communications

Army West Point head coach Brian Riley earned his 200th victory at the helm of the Black Knights program in a 2-0 shutout of Atlantic Hockey Association rival Bentley on Saturday at Tate Rink.
“It only means I have 300 and something more to catch my dad,” Riley said on the accomplishment. “Two-hundred wins. I don’t think I won any of those on my own. It was the guys in the room tonight and all the guys who have sat in that room in the past. They are all part of this. When you can reach a milestone like that with a game like this, you aren’t going to forget it. I am just thankful to have had the opportunity to have coached so many great guys.”
In his first career appearance in net, sophomore goaltender Justin Evenson recorded a shutout for Army’s first win of the 2020-21 campaign.
It was a night of firsts for the Black Knights, as freshman forward Lincoln Hatten broke the scoreless tie 12:33 into the third period with his first career goal.
Fellow rookie forward Mitch Matchlitt recorded his first collegiate point on the play, finding Hatten with a stretch pass down the right wing for the breakaway score.
Evenson earned a point of his own when he kicked the puck to junior forward Eric Butte who found the net for the empty netter.
“I think once I got the nerves out of the way, I was able to really settle in tonight,” Evenson said. “I was seeing the puck really well and as the game went on I felt more confident. I was able to calm down and stick to what I do best.”
After an opening night loss to Bentley on Friday, Riley turned to Evenson who stopped all 24 shots he faced. The shutout is Army’s first since Trevin Koslowski’s 25-save shutout at Robert Morris last December.
“Justin was very composed and calm in there tonight and that made all of us calm,” Riley said. “We played really solid as a team today and it all came together in the third period.”
The win moves the Riley family within one of another milestone—1,000 victories for the Riley family at Army.
“I know if my dad or my brother were here they’d say the same thing, and that is that coaching here is a privilege because of the type of people you get to be around,” Riley said. “I honestly still pinch myself that I am the coach at West Point. Wow.”

Highlights and notes
• Evenson’s shutout was the first by a Black Knight since Kozlowski’s shutout of Robert Morris on Dec. 14, 2019.
• Hatten’s game-winning goal was the first of his career and was assisted by Matchlitt who recorded the first point of his career.
• Army has now won two consecutive home openers at Tate Rink after failing to win the opening game on their home ice in the four seasons prior.
• After entering the season with one career point, sophomore defenseman Noah Wilson has opened the year with a point in each of Army’s two games this year (1-1-2).

HOW IT HAPPENED
First Period
• Both teams got into penalty trouble early in the contest, taking two penalties apiece.
• In a quiet offensive period, Army outshot Bentley 7-5 in the period.

Second Period
• Evenson made several huge saves in the period, stopping all 12 shots he faced in the second.
• Army had to rely on its penalty kill throughout the early part of the game, killing off five penalties through two periods.

Third Period
• Army was finally able to break through with 7:27 remaining in the third. Freshman Mitch Machlitt found a wide open Lincoln Hatten rushing down the right side of the ice. The freshman Hatten buried home the breakway chance for his first collegiate goal. It would stand as the game winner.
• The Black Knights locked up the victory on an empty netter, when an Evenson kick save found the stick of Eric Butte and the junior found the open net to give Army a 2-0 victory.