RELEASE — The RMC Paladins won their rivalry game against the ARMY Black Knights from the United States Military Academy 3-2 in overtime at the Leon’s Centre Saturday night. The Paladins hadn’t won a game in the historic series since 2002, which ended in an identical 3-2 overtime win for the Canadians.
Saturday marked the 84th meeting between the two military academies, whose rivalry dates back to 1923 and represents the longest continuously running international hockey competition.
“It’s tough to put into words right now,” Paladins head coach Richard Lim said. “I don’t think I’ve really grasped how awesome the guys played and what it means to the school.”
RMC took the better part of 20 minutes to find their legs against the Americans, who are ranked second in their NCAA DI conference, the Atlantic Hockey Association. Alex Wilkinson made the Paladins pay, opening the scoring for his Black Knights on the power play midway through the first period.
“West Point’s a really good team,” Lim said. “Their details are awesome, and we knew we had to match that.”
Late in the second period, Samuel Cameron evened the score from in tight, before Cameron Lamport put RMC in front just 1:32 into the third period.
With 1,952 Paladins fans willing the clock to wind down, West Point’s Mason Krueger tied the game late in the third, setting up sudden death three-on-three overtime.
From the opening faceoff in the extra frame, the pace was frantic. Fans of both sides could hardly contain their excitement as the teams traded breakaway chances in the first 30 seconds.
At 1:28, Liam Stagg collected the puck in the Paladins end, gaining speed through the neutral zone. Stagg threw the puck in front with Seamus Maguire crashing the net. After Maguire’s point-blank chance was denied, the rebound came all the way out to Cole Noble, who walked in from the point to wrist it home.
The Noble goal sent the Leon’s Centre into a frenzy, as students, family, alumni and friends celebrated RMC’s first win over West Point in 18 years.
As the fanfare moved from the ice to the dressing room, Lim credited his team’s composure in the late stages of the game.
“When they tied it up with five minutes left, there wasn’t any panic on the bench,” he said. “All 22 guys stepped up and played their hearts out. I’m unbelievably proud of every guy that’s in that dressing room right now.”
While today’s members of the RMC team celebrate their accomplishment on the ice, they have also rekindled a spark in the over 50 hockey alumni who returned to Kingston for the West Point game. As a former Paladin himself, Lim let his team know that this was more than just a win.
“I told all those guys, ‘this is something you’ll remember forever.’”
Release | Photo submission: RMC.ca
Photo credit: MCpl Rod Doucet