Match-Up Preview: Central Oklahoma
February 13, 2012 | Lynchburg, VA
Matchup: #5 Liberty Flames (21-7-5) will take on #14 Central Oklahoma Bronchos (15-18-1) this Friday and Saturday at 7:30. Friday night will mark the first annual Teddy Bear Toss, where fans are encouraged to bring stuffed animals to the game to throw them on to the ice after the first Liberty goal. All the bears will go to the Teddy Bear Brigade who will distribute them all over the world. Saturday is Senior Night where the Flames will honor all four seniors on the roster.
All-Time Series: Liberty is 4-1 against UCO all time, including two wins in Oklahoma earlier this season.
Scouting Liberty: Liberty is looking strong heading into the final week of the regular season and has truly benefitted from the play from their four seniors. Captain, Joe Smith, has eleven goals and eleven assists up to this point this season, and has scored at very critical times for the Flames. He currently ranks fifth on the team in scoring. Luke Aitken, who has played on Smith's line the entire season, is having a strong season as well with four goals and seven assists. These two players are the only two players on this year's roster that have been with the team for the last four years. Another senior,Seth Jensen has stood tall on the blue line for the Flames this season. Not only has he notched two goals and eight assists, he also ranks second on the team in penalty minutes with 63. Finally, the Flames have reaped the benefit of Jake Hannon, who has played in the top D-pairing for the entire season. Hannon, who is coming off a two point night against Lebanon Valley, has four goals and fifteen assists. Going into senior night on Saturday, the Flames look to ride the help from these four very productive seniors.
Scouting UCO: Central Oklahoma has lost 8 of their last 9 games since beating #1 Penn State on January 6th. However, they continue to be led by sophomore forward, Donald Geary, who has 19 goals and 16 assists. Shane Khalaf ranks second on the team in scoring with 21 points. The UCO defense corps is headed up by Peter Kressner, a 6'1 freshman out of Sweden, who comes into this game with three goals and nine assists. Freshman, Troy Caldwell, has spent the majority of time in net for the Bronchos. He has a 3.03 GAA and a 91% save percentage.
Previous Matchups: Liberty took both games from UCO earlier this season by the scores of 5-3 and 3-0. In game one, Joe Smith logged a goal and an assist, and Andrew McCombe had two assists. Blair Bennett stood tall in net and made 33 saves on 36 shots. In game two, McCombe had another strong game, this time with 2 goals, and Brent Boschman had two assists. Bennett had one of his best games of the season stopping all 40 shots he faced for the shutout.