Liberty's DII men cruise to 8-1 rout of Rowan
February 2, 2013 | Lynchburg, Va.
Liberty University's Division II men's hockey team, which ascended to sixth in this week's ACHA Southeast rankings, turned in a dominating performance against eighth-ranked Rowan (N.J.) in Saturday's second round of its DII showcase at the LaHaye Ice Center.
Freshman forward Peter Kazmierczak recorded five assists, including two to junior forward Bobby Cervone and two to senior leading scorer Brad Docksteader, as the Flames (19-7-1) cruised to an 8-1 rout of the Profs (17-8-1), who had upset fifth-ranked Virginia Tech, 4-2 on Friday night.
Kazmierczak, who picked up two goals and an assist in Friday's 13-2 thrashing of East Carolina, moved into third place on Liberty's scoring list behind Docksteader and DJ Dinnison with 31 points.
Docksteader's two goals padded his ACHA DII lead with 41 on the season and second-place standing in scoring with 73 points.
"I'm real happy with our production this weekend, so far," Liberty head coach Chris Lowes said. "The line with Docksteader, Cervone, and Kazmierczak has been playing good. Other teams are honing in on them, trying to shut them down, but they're still just battling through and creating opportunities."
After Cervone received Kazmierczak's second assist from the left to the right circle and beat Rowan goalie Brien Bennett with a sharp shot into the upper right corner, Dinnison finished a short feed from the right wing from senior forward Neal Henderson with a left-handed wrist shot in the right crease, extending Liberty's lead to 5-0 with 3:18 left in the second period.
"That was on a three-on-two and Cotton drove the net, Henderson dished it to Dinnison and he got it on the back end," Lowes said. "Both those lines have been playing really well and our line with (Caleb) Allison, (Jeff) Boschman, and (Kyle) Burman, we've been using those to shut other teams down and they've been doing a real good job."
Flames goalie Nick Devine, who got Friday night off, returned refreshed, making 34 saves as the Profs actually outshot Liberty 36-29.
"They had some good chances on the power play that Nick played well, but our (defense) had one of their stronger games, really cleaned up any rebounds and limited second chances," Lowes said.
Three minutes after Rowan ended the shutout early in the third period, Cotton set up Henderson with a well-timed, perfectly-placed pass from behind the net for a quick score in the right crease, pushing Liberty's advantage to 6-1. Cervone later scored off a slapshot from near the left blue line after Kazmierczak won a faceoff in the left circle before Docksteader capped the scoring with a laser shot from the right crease set up by Kazmierczak and Cervone off a forecheck.
"It was basically a broken play, three-on-two, and Doc was the high guy and he hasn't missed those chances this year," Lowes said.
None of the nine goals scored Saturday came on a power play.
"Five-on-five, we played a real solid game, even strength," said Lowes, who was surprised by the lopsided score over a team that had been ranked fourth in the Southeast just last week. "They're a solid team. They've got some good wins. That was just one of our better games of the year. They're better than the score indicates. They were coming in hot, but we played a solid 60 minutes."
Lowes hopes the Flames can avoid a letdown Sunday afternoon in their rubber match against Virginia Tech, set for 2:45 p.m. at LaHaye. That contest, Liberty's regular-season finale, will serve as a preview for its Mid-Atlantic Conference playoff opener, Feb. 15 in Abingdon, Md.
"We're locked into our spot for the league playoffs," Lowes said, noting the Flames are assured the second seed and will face the third-seeded Hokies for a fourth time in the first round, with top-seeded UMBC taking on fourth-seeded Maryland. "It should be a good game, a third game in three days for both of us, so no advantage there. They're a league opponent, big rivalry, always physical, tough games. It will be a close one and could go either way."