Liberty on road again at ESCHL Tournament champ Syracuse
November 21, 2019 | Syracuse, N.Y.
After making three 10-hour road trips in October — to Alabama, Rhode Island, and top-ranked Adrian — Liberty University's ACHA Division I men's hockey team will spend its second straight weekend in New York, waging another ESCHL showdown at Syracuse.
The two-time defending ESCHL regular-season champion Flames, who salvaged a split at second-place New York University last weekend, lead this season's conference standings while the Orange are stuck in the cellar. Liberty is 9-0 in the friendly confines of the LaHaye Ice Center, but only 5-3 on the road this season.
"It's a conference road trip," Head Coach Kirk Handy said. "Syracuse isn't going to back down and we aren't going to back down. It's a friendly rivalry and it's going to be a 60-minute battle, for sure."
The last time the Flames and Orange met, Oct. 18-19 at home, junior forward Jordan Bochinski converted a hat trick in a 4-2 come-from-behind victory in the opener before Liberty went a perfect six-for-six on the penalty kill in a 4-1 win in the rematch.
Scouting Preview, Games 18-19: No. 6 Liberty (14-3, 7-1 ESCHL) at Syracuse (3-7-2, 1-6-1 ESCHL), Friday (6:30 p.m.) and Saturday (2 p.m.) at Tennity Ice Pavillion. Both games will be webcast live on Syracuse's team page and YouTube channel.
All-Time Series: The Flames lead the Orange, 6-3, since Syracuse joined the ESCHL in 2017. Liberty lost the teams' only postseason matchup last March in the ESCHL Tournament final decided in double overtime.
Liberty Scouting Report: The Flames have outscored opponents by a 93-36 margin so far this season. Sophomore forward Josh Fricks leads the attack with 16 goals and 16 assists, tied for seventh in ACHA Division I, followed by senior forward Quinn Ryan (7G, 20A, tied for 20th). Five players have netted two game-winning goals — Fricks, Bochinski (8G, 13A), senior defenseman Garrett Nelson (4G, 13A), sophomore forward Matthew Bartel (4G, 7A), and junior forward Cole Gammer (7G, 2A). Senior defenseman Jacob Fricks (9G, 4A), senior forward Brock Thompson (9G, 4A), and freshman defenseman Colin Baird (4G, 9A) have also reached double digits in scoring.
|Flames forward Cody Clarke battles along the back boards with Orange players in a 4-2 win on Oct. 18.|
Liberty has converted 25 percent of its power-play opportunities and successfully completed 82.9 percent of its penalty kills.
Between the pipes, Liberty has platooned first-year goalies Tyler Myers (7-2, 2.09 goals-against average, 91.0 save percentage, two shutouts) and Cédric Le Sieur (7-1, 2.01 GAA, 91.7 SP) with nearly identical results.
Syracuse Scouting Report: The Orange, which was swept at New York University in its ESCHL-opening series, is coming off back-to-back splits in its first two home series — against No. 24 Drexel and Stony Brook, which won the second game in a shootout but still dropped out of this week's ACHA DI Top 25. Syracuse will seek to continue that trend on its home ice against the Flames, which won the only two previous meetings at Tennity last season.
The Orange attack is sparked by senior forward Peter Owen Hayward (7G, 6A), who also leads the team with 51 penalty minutes, and defenseman and alternate captain Ford Hatchett (3G, 9A). Lucas Prestamo (5G, 6A) has a team-high three power-play goals while fellow forward Matt Jacobs (4G, 6A) and defenseman Luke Caddo (3G, 7A) are the only other 10-point scorers.
Syracuse has only scored on 15.5 percent of its power-play chances while shutting down opponents on 80 percent of its penalty kills.
In goal, Eric Parker (3-7-2, 3.47 GAA, 90.4 SP) has played all 725 minutes for the Orange.
Coaches: Handy is in his 20th season as Liberty's head coach and has compiled an overall record of 446-183-29. Connor Treacy is in his second year as Syracuse's head coach after serving as an assistant the previous five seasons and has posted a 24-17-3 record to date.