Challenging 2013-14 schedule awaits Liberty's DII men
July 9, 2013 | Lynchburg, Va.
Playing on its home ice should provide Liberty University's Division II men's hockey team a significant advantage at the start of the 2013-14 season and in the final stretch before the playoffs.
The Flames will host their first eight games this fall, starting with weekend series against two junior programs — the Atlanta Knights (Sept. 6-7) and Hampton Whalers (Sept. 13-14) — before wrapping up their regular season with 12 consecutive dates at the LaHaye Ice Center.
Altogether, Liberty will host 24 of the 33 games on its schedule, which includes 20 contests against teams that ended last season ranked in the top 15 in the American Collegiate Hockey Association's DII Southeast Region.
"We'll have seven games to prepare for Bowling Green, our first real tough team," Flames head coach Chris Lowes said. "From there, our schedule just takes off and we really get into the meat of it where we don't have any light weekends."
Highlights include Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association South Division games against top rival and defending MACHA tournament champion Virginia Tech, in an away-home series Oct. 18 and 19, and home and away contests Nov. 2 and Nov. 8, respectively, against Maryland. The 10th-seeded Terrapins ended fourth-seeded Liberty's season in the semifinal round of the ACHA DII Southeast Regional tournament, a day after eliminating third-seeded University of Maryland Baltimore County.
The Flames also play away and home games against UMBC (Nov. 9, Jan. 25) and MACHA South newcomer Delaware (Nov. 10, Jan. 24).
"In the Mid-Atlantic, all the South teams and the majority of the North are ranked in the top 15 so playing our league schedule prepares us well for what we'll be facing at regionals," Lowes said.
New to the schedule this year are four games against 2012 ACHA DII national champion Florida Gulf Coast University (Oct. 25-26 away; Jan. 17-18 home).
"They're a perennial powerhouse, though they had an off year last year," Lowes said.
Other top-15 teams on the slate include Rider, Rowan, Penn State, and Temple.
"I'm really excited," said Lowes, who anticipates the Flames will be one of the top contenders in both the MACHA South and ACHA Southeast. "We did graduate five players that will be tough to replace, but we're very excited about the incoming freshmen recruits that we have. It looks like we're adding depth and skill at every position — forward, defense, and goaltending."
He anticipates having a young and extremely talented nucleus to build around.
"We're still very young, but we have a lot of experience back," said Lowes, who only projects one senior to be on this year's roster, which will be finalized after the Aug. 18-23 tryouts. "I expect the sophomore class to really step up and play a larger role. We're excited to watch the guys compete for their positions at tryouts and for ice time during the season."
2013-14 DII men's hockey schedule
(Home games in bold)
Sept. 6 Atlanta Knights
Sept. 7 Atlanta Knights
Sept. 13 Hampton Whalers
Sept. 14 Hampton Whalers
Sept. 20 Elon
Sept. 21 Millersville
Sept. 27 Christopher Newport
Sept. 28 Bowling Green
Oct. 4 at Pittsburgh
Oct. 5 at West Virginia
Oct. 11 Temple
Oct. 12 Temple
Oct. 18 at Virginia Tech
Oct. 19 Virginia Tech
Oct. 25 at Florida Gulf Coast
Oct. 26 at Florida Gulf Coast
Nov. 2 Maryland
Nov. 3 St. Joseph's
Nov. 8 at Maryland
Nov. 9 at UMBC
Nov. 10 at Delaware
Nov. 16 Rider
Nov. 22 Division II Showcase (Ohio, Monmouth, N.C. State)
Dec. 6 Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Dec. 7 Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Jan. 10 Penn State
Jan. 11 West Virginia
Jan. 17 Florida Gulf Coast
Jan. 18 Florida Gulf Coast
Jan. 24 Delaware
Jan. 25 UMBC
Jan. 31 Pittsburgh
Feb. 1 Pittsburgh
Feb. 14 Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs
Feb. 22 ACHA Southeast Regional tournament
By Ted Allen/Staff Writer