Army vs. Pennsylvania
March 13, 2004
The Game Story:
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Sparked by Jim Wagner's career-high five goals, 19th-ranked Army accounted for the game's final five tallies en route to a 12-7 victory over a pesky Penn squad Saturday afternoon at West Point's Shea Stadium, giving the Black Knights their third straight victory.

After the Quakers' Will Phillips posted successive goals to draw Penn (2-2) even at 7-7 with 11:00 remaining in the third quarter, Wagner put the Black Knights (3-1) ahead for good by bouncing a turnaround shot past Penn goalie Ryan Kelly with 6:36 to play in the stanza.

Jack Couch converted a John Walker feed with 5:04 left to push the Black Knights' cushion to two at 9-7.

Despite winning just seven of the game's opening 19 faceoffs, Army got hot in that area to start the fourth. Erik Mineo won the first three draws of the stanza and the Black Knights turned each Mineo faceoff win into goals, scoring three times in the opening 3:12 of the final quarter.

Walker lulled the Penn defense to sleep along the left post before ducking in to slip a shot past Kelly 44 seconds into the quarter. Jeff Bryan notched his second goal of the day with 12:55 to play before Wagner capped the day's scoring off an assist from Chris Couch with 11:48 to go.

From there, the hosts milked the clock offensively while pressuring Penn into turnovers and errant shots down the stretch. Over the final 26 minutes, the Quakers went scoreless while putting just six of their 11 shots in that span on net. Army goalie Matt Darak stymied the Quakers when they did put the ball on the crease, posting six of his 11 saves in that span.

The Black Knights, who outshot the Quakers 36-34 for the game, held a 20-14 edge in the second half, including a 10-6 advantage in the fourth quarter. Kelly managed just 10 saves in the cage for the Quakers.

"I thought we played very solidly in the second half," Army coach Jack Emmer said. "Coming out of the half, our goal was to win the third quarter and then win the fourth quarter. We were able to accomplish both of those goals.

"I was pleased with our defensive effort in the second half, particularly the play of our defensive middies, Jeff Auer and Ben Harrow," Emmer added. "We were able to turn the faceoff situation around in the second half. That was a key to the game, particularly at the beginning of the fourth quarter, because we didn't have things going our way in the first half."

Early on, the Black Knights were clicking on all cylinders offensively as Emmer's squad jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead. Wagner opened the game with two goals in a span of 51 seconds, putting Army on top 2-0 with just 2:59 gone in the contest.

Bryan, whose five-point day included two goals and three assists, gave Army a 3-0 lead with 5:41 remaining in the frame. Marko Kostovic's extra man goal, off a feed from Wagner, capped Army's opening surge with 4:15 left.

Phillips, who posted four of Penn's seven goals, ripped successive tallies in a span of 33 seconds to slice the Quakers' deficit in half with 2:59 left in the first quarter. His second goal came with Darak out of the net on a failed Army clear.

Junior Brian Green scored both of Army's second-quarter goals, while Penn answered with tallies from Brian Amen and Mark Becker. It appeared that the Black Knights would carry a 6-4 lead into the break after forcing a Penn turnover in the final 30 seconds. However, Army could not clear the ball and the Quakers capitalized when Zandy Reich beat Darak with 6.1 seconds to play, pulling the visitors within 6-5.

Wagner and Bryan combined for the first qoal of the second half, putting Army ahead 7-5 with 1:08 gone in the frame, setting the stage for Philllips' successive markers that pulled the Quakers even at 7-7.

Coupled with his four-goal effort Tuesday against Holy Cross, Wagner now has nine tallies in Army's last two contests. Bryan, who had seven points against Holy Cross, accounted for three goals and nine assists this week.

The Black Knights return to Shea Stadium next Saturday, hosting fourth-ranked Rutgers at 1 p.m. The Scarlet Knights moved their record to 4-0 Saturday with a 17-4 rout of Quinnpiac that featured seven goals from senior attackman Delby Powless.