DII Flames overpower Pirates with scorching second period
February 1, 2013 | Lynchburg, Va.
A six-goal second period propelled Liberty University's Division II men's hockey team to a 13-2 victory over visiting East Carolina in the first game of a weekend DII showcase, Friday afternoon at the LaHaye Ice Center.
"We played a pretty good second (period), really kind of lit things up, and in the third, we were just trying to run lines, get pucks deep and keep it simple, so second really was the key tonight," Flames head coach Chris Lowes said.
Liberty (18-7-1), which ranks eighth in the Southeast Division of ACHA DII, completely outmatched the Pirates (2-15-1) after allowing Harris Griswold to score the game's first goal on a defensive breakdown just 1 minute, 10 seconds into the match.
"Just a missed assignment and not the way we want to start, but I think our guys were confident we'd get things together and start putting pucks in their net," Lowes said.
The Flames, who outshot ECU 50-23, responded to tie it up 37 seconds later on a goal by Peter Kazmierczak, assisted by Brad Docksteader, before taking the lead for good less than two minutes later when Neal Henderson finished a feed from DJ Dinnison.
Docksteader put the Flames ahead 3-1 with an unassisted goal with 9:15 left in the first. For the game, Liberty's leading scorer netted a hat trick and added two assists in limited playing time to move into the ACHA DII lead for goals with 39 and back into second place in total points with 71.
"He had a bunch," Lowes said of Docksteader's scoring performance. "We didn't play him a lot in the third, only a couple shifts, and he scored a couple in the brief time he was out there. We're just trying to keep him fresh, keep him from taking any unnecessary sticks. We gave Johnny Cotton a rest in the third, too, one of our top centermen. Hopefully, everybody's ready to go (for Saturday's game against Rowan). It's a real big game for us."
Fellow senior forwards Kyle Burman and Caleb Allison assisted senior defender Seth Reed on one of the game's best goals on a three-on-two break ignited by Reed's steal. Allison worked the puck up the left wing before flipping it back to Burman in the center where he sent a quick assist to Reed near the right post for a perfectly timed finish. Burman finished with two goals, including an unassisted score off a steal and nifty backhanded wrist shot into the upper netting on a breakaway with ECU goalie Luke Simpson, extending the Flames' advantage to 11-1 early in the third period.
Kazmierczak also tallied two goals and Allison, Dinnison, Bobby Cervone, and Nate Arbour each scored one, with Arbour rocketing a left-handed slapshot from the left circle into the top right shelf. That made it 12-2 before Docksteader capped the scoring with a tight maneuver in the right circle and shot that deflected off the goalie into the left side of the net.
Justin Gortman, who's from Raleigh, N.C., got the start in goal for the Flames and repelled 21 shots, including 15 of 16 in the first period alone.
"He played very well today," Lowes said. "We've been going with Nick (Devine) pretty heavy, but we feel very confident with Justin and Trent McDonald. We're very deep at goalie this year."
Liberty continues play in its regular-season-ending showcase today at 11 a.m. against Rowan, ranked fourth in the Southeast.
"Right now, they're ranked ahead of us, so it's really going to help determine seedings for regionals," Lowes said. "They're real solid, so it should be a good, physical, tough game.
"I think we should match up well with them. It's just going to be one of those games where the guys have got to be focused and know their roles and their assignments."
Then on Sunday, the Flames will host seventh-ranked Virginia Tech in the rubber-match of their three-game series this season. Faceoff is set for 2:45 p.m.
20130201 Men's D2 Hockey vs. ECU (public) - Images by Cali Lowdermilk/Liberty University