WEST POINT, N.Y. – In the first meeting between the two programs, Army’s offense clicked on all cylinders and handed visiting Manhattan a 14-8 loss in the Black Knights’ home opener Wednesday afternoon at Michie Stadium. Senior attackman Garrett Thul registered his 24th career hat trick, while sophomores Alex Newsome and John Glesener added five and four points, respectively.
Coming off a tough loss at No. 12 UMass on Sunday, the Black Knights showed no signs of hangover in their first victory of 2013. Thul’s four goals led all players and extended the nation’s longest goal-scoring streak to 41 games. Newsome’s breakout performance included his first career hat trick (3G, 2A), and Glesener turned in his second standout effort of the season with two goals and as many assists. In addition, freshman attackman Connor Cook totaled a career-high three points (2G, 1A) to highlight a host of contributing youngsters.
Army (1-1) rose above Manhattan (0-2) goalkeeper Michael Wiatrak, who turned in a 20-save performance and kept the Jaspers in the game. The Black Knights took 53 shots and dominated the ground ball battle, 49-31. Much of Army’s offense came due to increased possession. Freshman Alex Daly won 11 face-offs to help the cause.
“I was pleased with our effort today,” said eighth-year head coach Joe Alberici. “We ran into a hot goalie (Wiatrak) who had 20 saves, but we showed persistence and mental fortitude as the game wore on. If you’re over 50 shots in this game, it’s outstanding and what we need to do to get a victory. I was also very pleased with our special teams play this afternoon. We did what we had to do to come out with a win.
“Up and down the lineup, there are a lot of goals being scored by young players,” Alberici continued. “I thought Connor (Cook) made some really big plays, along with scoring a couple goals. He was a sparkplug for us today. I’m happy with our young guys. We’re putting them in spots where they know they have to produce and they’re able to live up to those expectations.”
The final six-goal margin matched the largest of the game, as the Black Knights enjoyed previous leads of 8-2, 10-4, 12-6 and 13-7.
“This was a really good game for us,” Thul said following the win. “We showed a lot of improvement and can only get better. Our shooting can still get better and it will be a focus for us moving forward.”
Manhattan opened the scoring 4:34 into the game, to which Army responded with four unanswered goals to take a 4-1 lead. The 4-1 score stood at halftime before both offenses put up big second-half numbers to include 17 combined goals.
Cook got Army on the board with 9:34 to go in the first quarter, as he took a Glesener feed and put his second collegiate goal in the books. Newsome scored man-up just 38 seconds later (9:55) after reeling in an assist from senior midfielder Pat Brennan. Army led 3-1 at the end of the first quarter following freshman Will Mazzone’s first collegiate goal. The Stony Brook, N.Y., native picked up the loose change on an A.J. Canara shot and slipped the ball past Wiatrak at 2:19.
The Black Knights scored the lone second-quarter goal. Charging at the goal, junior midfielder Tyler Kamide converted his first goal of the season with 12:48 on the clock.
Army came out of the break firing and scored four of the first five goals of the second half. Newsome had a hand in the Black Knights’ first two goals of the half, scoring himself at 12:19 during a man-up chance – once again on a Brennan feed – and assisting on senior midfielder Andrew Boyd’s first goal of the season at 9:21. Thul and Glesener goals capped the 4-1 Army run and gave the Black Knights an 8-2 cushion.
Manhattan answered with back-to-back goals midway through the quarter, but two more Army goals gave the Black Knights a 10-4 advantage heading into the fourth frame. Cook came around to score from “x” at the 5:54 mark, while Thul’s second goal of the game came at 1:44. In all, the Black Knights peppered 21 shots throughout a productive third quarter. Wiatrak made eight of his 20 saves in the same time for the Jaspers.
Manhattan pulled within 10-6 thanks to consecutive goals in the opening five minutes of the fourth quarter. Army went on to out-score the Jaspers 4-2 down the stretch to hang on to the victory. Thul completed his hat trick at the 6:39 mark, while also scoring man-up after a Manhattan face-off penalty with 3:55 to go. Newsome’s third goal came with 7:35 to play, while Glesener rounded out the fourth-quarter scoring with his second goal at 4:18. Freshman Tim Coll registered his first collegiate point, assisting on Glesener’s goal.
Manhattan’s Tyler Eidel (3G) and Tyler Jarvis (2G, 1A) paced the Jaspers with three points apiece.
The Black Knights look to carry momentum into Saturday’s game against VMI. Face-off at Michie Stadium is set for noon. Tickets can be purchased at the Army Ticket Office in Michie Stadium, online at www.goARMYsports.com or by calling 1-877-TIX-ARMY.