DIII Flames erase 4-0 defecit, sink Seahawks 5-4 in shootout
September 28, 2013 | Lynchburg, Va.
Playing in its first Blue Ridge Hockey Conference Colonial South Division game, Liberty University's ACHA Division III men's hockey team rallied from a 4-0 second-period deficit for a dramatic 5-4 shootout victory over new rival UNC Wilmington, Saturday afternoon at the LaHaye Ice Center.
Junior forward Austin Crossley pulled the Flames (1-0) back within 4-3 with just under eight minutes remaining in regulation before converting the only goal in the shootout by skid-stopping in front of Seahawks goalie Calvin Stone, faking him out to the left, and depositing the puck in the open right side of the net.
"It came down to our boys working hard, completely giving it their all out there," Crossley said. "We didn't start off good and then we started rolling. My goal wasn't what won it. It was everything working up toward that."
Liberty freshman goalie Zach Potter, who had extended his right pad to make a key kick save of a second shootout try by UNCW's Rob Sprankle, then forced Blair Bigwood to lift his backhanded shot just wide of the left post, clinching the win for the Flames.
"That was definitely a huge game from Potter," Liberty head coach Tristan Chambers said. "He kept us in it and ended up in the shootout making three great saves and giving us the victory."
Freshman forward Kade McDaniel, who scored the Flames' first goal off an assist from senior forward Brandon Cockburn less than three minutes after the Seahawks had seized their 4-0 lead, forced a five-minute overtime by netting the equalizer with just 27 seconds left in the third period. After Chambers pulled Potter from the net to give Liberty a man advantage in the closing minute, McDaniel's shot from the right wing deflected off a defender's stick and found Stone's five hole.
"This was the first time out for a lot of the (eight) new freshmen and they're just working into it," Crossley said. "The first and second period they're working out. The third period everyone came out strong and that's how we're going to play for the rest of the season."
Lane Moore cut UNCW's lead to 4-2 three minutes after McDaniel put Liberty on the scoreboard by finishing feeds from fellow senior forwards Markus Deas and Kevin Serapiglia.
"First period was bad, second period we came back and played a little bit better and then the third period, that's how we were expecting to play the whole time," Chambers said.
The Seahawks (1-0), who had opened their season with a 13-3 rout of rival Coastal Carolina on Sept. 7, will host the Flames in a regular-season-ending rematch on Feb. 1, which could decide the Colonial South Division champion.
"They're a good team, they're a team we'll be battling with all year and they'll be a team that has potential to go to regionals," Chambers said.
Next week, Liberty makes a fall break road trip to Maryland to challenge the Terrapins on Friday in the Laurel Ice House and Loyola on Saturday in Abingdon, Md.
Images by Ty Hester/Liberty University