Flames' comeback stalls against VT in Mid-Atlantic opener
February 15, 2013 | Abingdon, Md.
After coming back from a 4-1 deficit to tie Virginia Tech with three goals in a span of four and a half minutes late in the second period, Liberty University's Division II men's hockey team was shut out the rest of the way in a 5-4 setback Friday afternoon in its Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association playoff opener at Ice World in Abingdon, Md.
"We just couldn't buy a goal," Flames head coach Chris Lowes said of the scoreless final 20 minutes of regulation, which followed a seven-goal outburst between the two teams in the second period. "We had lots of shots and a few power plays (but) we couldn't finish. We shouldn't have given up five goals in the first place."
Liberty (20-8-1) outshot the Hokies (16-11-2) by a 33-28 margin, but Tech junior goalkeeper Walker Detweiler made 29 saves, six more than Flames' freshman Nick Devine.
Zack Walz, the Hokies' leading scorer with 30 points on the season, added three more with a hat trick, scoring Tech's first, third, and fifth goals, the game-winner with two and a half minutes left in the second period.
"He had a good game and a couple of good bounces go his way," Lowes said.
The Hokies struck right back a minute and a half into the second period and netted two more goals to seize a 4-1 advantage before the Flames reeled off three goals in a row to knot it up at 4-4.
Caleb Allison scored the first off assists from Bobby Cervone and Clinton Nigh before Peter Kazmierczak brought Liberty back within one goal off a feed from Seth Reed and Henderson netted the tying goal, assisted by DJ Dinnison and Lucas Ebel.
"It was promising," Lowes said. "We had momentum."
However, Walz completed his hat trick, finishing an assist from Douglas MacDonald for the final score.
"It was disappointing," Lowes said. "We've been playing good hockey. We're a stronger team than Tech and didn't show it tonight. That's what happens in a single-elimination tournament."
While Virginia Tech advances to the South Division final to face the winner of Friday afternoon's quarterfinal between UMBC and Maryland, Liberty returns to Lynchburg on Friday night and has a week of practice to prepare for the Southeast Regionals next Saturday and Sunday at the Skate Zone in Pennsauken, N.J.
The Flames will be seeded fourth and face ninth-seeded Rowan, a team they beat 8-1 two weekends ago, in the first round. The winner of that game will face the winner between third-seeded UMBC and eighth-seeded Maryland on Sunday for a chance to qualify for the ACHA DII nationals.