Air Force reclaims the Commanders Cup, ending tie against the Army
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Air Force won the Commanders Cup beating the Army in their annual hockey game.
2022 saw the return of the annual Army vs. Air Force hockey game which saw cancellations during the Covid-19 pandemic. In that return game, the Army won the cup and tied up the record against the Air Force.
The 2023 match up took place at the Big Dipper on Jan. 28. This year both teams had a fresh set of new players and for the Air Force that meant the addition of one player that would perform phenomenally.
Airman 1st Class, Cameron St. Amand scored 4 goals for the Air Force helping them win the game 6-4. St. Amand has a long history with hockey, ending his career on the ice playing junior hockey. The time spent on the ice as a competitive player aided St. Amand as he and the rest of the team for the Air Force made a comeback during the second period of the game eventually leading to the win. “It was huge,” said St. Amand when speaking on the victory in his first Army vs. Air Force game.
This game was certainly one that both branches looked forward to but the Air Force was hungry to reclaim the cup and their payed off. “We’re fired up. We’ve been ready for a long time, we’ve been waiting for this. We’ve been practicing, we have more structured team this year. It was tougher to find ice time but we made it work,” said Staff Sgt. Tommy DePhillips, one of the skaters for the Air Force.
At the beginning of the game the Army appeared to be on a fast track path to victory holding a two point advantage over the Air Force at the end of the period.
Cpt. Justus Neumann who was once again the team captain for the Army spoke on his efforts to prepare his teammates to take on the Air Force. “I just try to be honest with the guys. Where we stand, where they stand on the team. Realistic expectations and then following through, we do what we say, we say what we mean,” said Neumann. This mindset and leadership style came right out of Cpt. Neumann’s leadership style as a member of the armed forces.
These two teams also saw a very physical game for 2023 including a couple of fights, one of which resulted in a handful of players be removed from the game.
Next year the Army will look to once again tie up the record and win the Commanders Cup.
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