Lady Flames take No. 1 ranking from Bulldogs after sweep
February 19, 2019 | Lynchburg, Va.
After its 5-4, 8-2 sweep of top-ranked Adrian College on Friday night and Saturday afternoon at the LaHaye Ice Center, Liberty University's reigning ACHA Division I national championship women's hockey team (24-1-3), which has occupied the No. 2 spot since the start of the season, replaced the Bulldogs (20-3-1) atop this week's ACHA DI national poll.
"We're excited about the weekend and proud of the No. 1 ranking," Lady Flames Head Coach Chris Lowes said.
He said it was especially inspiring to see his players overcome a 4-3 deficit by scoring the tying and winning goals in the final 2 minutes, 15 seconds of Friday night's opener, after Adrian scored three times in a span of six minutes midway through the period.
"Our girls get excited for those big games and we've got a bit of a rivalry going against Adrian," Lowes said. "We wanted to show that we could persevere and our girls responded well. To face that adversity in a big game and find a way to get it done, that's exciting, They beat us and tied us the first semester (Oct. 26-27 in Michigan), so to come back and get a couple wins should bode well for our confidence going into the national tournament."
The Lady Flames were last ranked No. 1 in the final poll of the 2017-18 season, after edging Adrian, 2-1, March 18 in Columbus, Ohio, for their second national title in four seasons.
Lindenwood (17-4-3), Michigan State (18-5), and Miami (Ohio, 14-6-4) round out the top five out of 23 teams competing in ACHA Division I this season.
The Lady Flames will find out their opponent in the best-of-three first round of the March 27-31 ACHA DI National Championships near Dallas when the final regular-season rankings are released on Feb. 26. If the rankings remain the same, Liberty would face No. 8-ranked Grand Valley, a team it swept by 4-1 and 7-2 scores Dec. 1-2 in Hudsonville, Mich.
While Lady Flames senior forward Lauren McDonald, junior forward Vanessa DeMerchant, junior defenseman Dana McLeod, and sophomore forward Shelby Bradford travel to Russia to represent Team USA at the Winter World University Games from March 1-11, Liberty will close out its regular-season schedule with two exhibition games against the Washington Pride on March 2-3 In Rockville, Md.