DIII Flames conclude up-and-down season on a high note
February 14, 2018 | Lynchburg, Va.
Liberty University's ACHA Division III men's hockey team, which featured nine freshmen alongside eight seniors, concluded a rollercoaster of a season with a 10-4 triumph over Methodist University on Saturday at the LaHaye Ice Center to finish above the .500 mark.
Senior forward Zach Mitchell started the scoring for the Flames (12-11) just over five minutes after the opening faceoff by putting back the rebound of his own point-blank shot off an entry pass from freshman defenseman Trevor Foley.
Fellow senior forward Robert Piccerillo lifted Liberty to a 2-0 lead four minutes later by finishing a two-on-one break by skating around a defenseman in the right circle, deking past the goalie, and lifting a backhander into the open net.
Freshman forward Thomas Kazmierczak made it 3-0 with 3:35 left in the first period by one-timing a Methodist defenseman's clearing attempt from the top of the right circle inside the left post.
After the Monarchs cut the deficit to 3-1, Flames senior left wing Kyle Jassman answered quickly by maneuvering his way into the left circle and putting away an open shot for a 4-1 advantage with 1:11 to go in the first.
Less than a minute into the second period, Foley picked up a loose puck at the red line and skated through traffic before finishing with a forehand around the goalie, making it 5-1. Four minutes later, senior forward James Brady netted the Flames' sixth goal on a shot from the high slot into the top right corner of the cage. Mitchell netted his second goal in the right crease off a putback of a shot from the high slot by senior Matthew Graham to stretch Liberty's lead to 7-1.
Five minutes into the third period, Methodist scored its second goal before cutting the Flames' edge to 7-3 five minutes later. Liberty freshman wing Scott Chisolm responded on a breakaway counterattack at the 7:54 mark before the Monarchs trimmed the deficit to 8-4.
The Flames tacked on two goals in the final 90 seconds to cap the scoring. Jassman made a smooth move around the goalie and put the puck in the back of the net with 1:28 to go before Mitchell completed his hat trick with 36 seconds left in the final game of his career, celebrating by sliding on his back on the ice.