Liberty DI men pecked by defending champion Blue Hens
February 2, 2013 | Newark, Del.
One night after Liberty University's Division I men's hockey team ended a six-game losing streak against Delaware, snapping its eight-game winning streak with a 5-2 triumph on its home ice, the Blue Hens showed they are still defending ACHA national champions by dealing the Flames a stinging 8-1 setback, Saturday at the Fred Rust Ice Arena in Newark, Del.
"It just wasn't our night tonight," Liberty head coach Kirk Handy said. "Our team got beaten in all phases of the game. We played a great game on Friday and tonight we just got out played. It wasn't anything in particular. You have nights like that. The way we can recover is to go back to work on Monday, not to dwell on it. We just sort of hit the reset button and go back to work on Monday. We just have to try to put this one behind us and refocus."
Delaware (22-9), ranked 12th in this week's ACHA DI poll, held a commanding 43-24 shot advantage on the 10th-ranked Flames (21-11-2) and capitalized on a few man-up situations.
"We were in the penalty box all night," Handy said. "That didn't help either. They scored three power play goals. They just took control of the game early and never gave it up."
The Blue Hens scored five times off Liberty starting goalie Clayton Brown before Blair Bennett replaced him in net. Delaware made it 6-0 by putting one goal past Bennett by the second period's end before Bennett was hurt on a collision around the cage early in the third and the Blue Hens tacked on two more goals against Brown.
"It was sort of a downer," Handy said of the lopsided loss just 20 hours after of the Flames' best 60-minute performances of the season. "We're going to have to move forward on Monday. As a coaching staff, we know we can bounce back. We'll be ready to go again on Friday."
Flames freshman forward Bram Erickson spoiled the shutout for Delaware goalie SJ Broadt, the reigning ACHA player of the year, in the final four minutes by sneaking a backhanded shot past him after skating down the left wing, making it 7-1.
Liberty will look to regroup for next Friday and Saturday's rematch with Oakland, a team the Flames split two games with two months ago this weekend in Michigan.
"That's a great program," Handy said, noting Oakland won the ACHA national championship game against Liberty in 2006. "We always have a good rivalry back and forth and we're excited about it."