Club Sports News

DII Flames finish first shutout, go 3-0 on weekend road trip

November 10, 2013  |  Newark, Del. 

Liberty junior forward Johnny Cotton competes in a game against St. Joseph's last weekend at the Lahaye Ice Center.

For the third day in a row on its weekend road trip to Maryland and Delaware, Liberty University's ACHA Division II men's hockey team opened at least a three-goal lead and defeated a Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey league opponent on its home ice.

Saturday afternoon at the University of Delaware's Fred Rust Arena, the Flames (16-3) posted their first shutout of the season, blanking the Blue Hens, 4-0, a day after Liberty's DI team completed a two-game sweep of Delaware's DI squad at the LaHaye Ice Center.

"It's tough to go on the road to win three games against the competition in our league," Liberty Head Coach Chris Lowes said. "All of our guys were banged up and tired, but they played really well. Opening an early lead allowed us to be successful. That allowed us to not have to have the same intensity or urgency to come back. We were able to play conservatively and to extend our bench."

Nick Devine recorded the shutout in his first start of the weekend after fellow sophomore goalie Justin Gortman earned wins against Maryland and UMBC.

"Nick played really well," Lowes said. "They could have had some goals. They're on their way up. They beat Rider (Saturday) night and Penn State last weekend. They'll be a top-10 team (in this week's Southeast Regional rankings) for sure. We had to play really well to beat them."

Senior forward Bobby Cervone lifted Liberty's first goal into the top right corner of the cage with three minutes left in the first period off assists from sophomore forwards Peter Kazmierczak and Eric Burke. Five minutes into second period, senior forward Brad Docksteader pushed the Flames' lead to 2-0 by capitalizing on a partial breakaway off an assist from freshman forward and younger brother Devon Docksteader. He scored despite being hooked seconds earlier, putting Liberty on a power play.

The brothers reversed roles with 5:18 left in the second period as Devon Docksteader scored off assists from Brad Docksteader and junior defenseman Clinton Nigh.

"It was a real nice give-and-go working in a four-on-four," Lowes said. "He took a wrist shot and put it off the left post and in. We had possession for a minute and a half prior to that, peppering their goalie with really quick shots."

Liberty netted the game's final score with 3:32 remaining in the third period when freshman forward Jordan Barstead finished off a well-executed cycle down low and out of the corner, assisted by Kazmierczak and Cervone, putting the puck in off the post.

Lowes said the rare weekend retreat was important for the Flames to grow stronger together as a team and ready for postseason tournament action down the road.

"We spent a lot of time on the bus and our guys did a great job of preparing for each game," Lowes said. "It was a great trip for our guys to bond, too. We spent three days in hotels and continued to build the chemistry on our team."

Liberty will return to LaHaye to host Rider, a Mid-Atlantic North Division opponent, on Saturday.


By Ted Allen/Staff Writer

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