Exclusive Interview: Army Hockey’s Anthony Firriolo

Exclusive Interview: Army Hockey’s Anthony Firriolo

by November 4, 2021 0 comments

Prime Time Sports Talk’s Jamie Gatlin had an exclusive opportunity to speak with Army Black Knights’ defenseman Anthony Firriolo.

The Army Black Knights hockey team have gotten off to a slow start thus far in 2021. Through their first eight games, they started a disappointing 2-5-1. One bright spot, however, has been the play of Anthony Firriolo. The Montville, NJ native has excelled at both ends of the ice and has been one of the AHA’s top players. While the 2021-2022 season is far from over, Firriolo’s talent has been on full display.

Through eight games this year, Firriolo has scored four goals and recorded two assists. He has also been effective on the power play while leading the Black Knights in points. His four goals are the most by a defenseman during head coach Brian Riley’s tenure. The 23-year-old’s hard work has led to his success so far in 2021.

“Just preparing every summer and staying focused during my training has been the biggest thing,” said Firriolo. “My coaches and teammates have also been a big part of my success.”

Firriolo has not been afraid of sacrificing his body, either. He has blocked 16 shots. Alongside Thomas Farrell, the Black Knights’ top defensive pair have been a solid duo. Army has won two straight games, and their play has been key.

“We’re never afraid to talk about mistakes we’ve made or ways to benefit our play on the ice together,” said Farrell. “I think that comfortability we have has given us a lot of confidence to make big plays.”

Coach McKelvie’s Impact

In Army’s latest wins, they have been playing their best hockey of the year. During that span, Firriolo has delivered two shots on net, increasing his total for the season to 15. He has created opportunities for his teammates, and they have outscored their opponents 6-1. His recent success is not only a reflection of his talent but the impact of coach Zach McKelvie.

“Coach has helped me a tremendous amount,” said Firriolo. “He is one of the most knowledgeable people in the game and is always pushing me to be at my best. I’m always trying to learn more and be a sponge to get better, but he has been a huge part of my success.”

McKelvie has also made an impact on Farrell, who has been teammates with Firriolo since Junior hockey.

“Z sees things in the game that no else does,” said Farrell. “I think I’ve come a long way since I got here as far as my skill set and vision on the ice. The coaching staff here has given me the best opportunity and environment to be successful.”

While the season has just begun, Firriolo was recently named the AHA Player of the Week. It is no coincidence it happened during the Knights’ best play of the season. He has also had a boost of late with Army’s first win of the season.

“Getting the first win of the season was huge,” said Firriolo. “Each team has a different way of winning, and it was nice to find our way. Our struggles have been closing out games, but we were able to do that this Friday, and it will build momentum going forward.”

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Main Image Credit: via GoArmyWestPoint

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