Three assists from Kuhn, Egan help Flames top Mountaineers
September 20, 2013 | Morgantown, W.Va.
Senior defenseman and assistant captain Jackson Kuhn, who led Liberty University's ACHA Division I men's hockey team with four goals in its first two games, distributed a hat trick of assists and freshman forward Robert Ward, who had a team-high four assists in the Flames' first two games, scored two of their first three goals in a 7-2 ACHA-opening win over host West Virginia, Friday night at Morgantown Municipal Ice Arena.
"He's had a great start to the year," Flames head coach Kirk Handy said of Kuhn. "Kuhn and Matt Sherry had a great game, a really strong night for us on the back end. They played really, really solid defensively and both chipped in on offense."
Junior forward Ryley Egan, who scored two goals in the first game against the Hampton Roads Junior "A" Whalers, also dished out three assists.
Handy said Ward was too unselfish in setting up teammates in Liberty's 9-2 and 7-3 season-opening sweep of Hampton Roads last weekend.
"He was shooting the puck tonight," Handy said. "Overall, I thought our guys played fairly well. The first period went back and forth, with both teams trying to get a feel for each other. The second period was our best period of hockey. We played really well, made some adjustments and were able to find the back of the net."
Ward broke the scoring ice with 6 minutes, 37 seconds left in the first period on a breakaway assisted by a long stretch pass from Kuhn. Egan and Kuhn then teamed up to assist on back-to-back goals by Danny Logan and Ward to extend the Flames advantage to 4-0 by the game's midpoint, with 10:07 left in the second period.
Bram Erickson later scored off an assist from McCombe before Tyson Street converted off a feed from Caleb Grow, Sherry finished off a pass from Egan, and Lindsay LeBlanc capped the scoring off an assist from Brandon Mistal.
"Logan, Bram, and (Charles) Williams played a pretty solid, physical game for us," Handy said. "On top of that, Bram and Logan both scored goals. All four lines contributed on the scoreboard, which was another key component for us."
Liberty (3-0) outshot the Mountaineers (0-1) by a 47-21 margin for the contest, allowing WVU only two late third-period goals after the outcome was all but decided. Freshman goalie Matt Pinel made 19 saves and stayed undefeated in three starts for the Flames.
"Matt played a really solid game for us tonight," Handy said.
He said the Flames need to be prepared for a much more competitive rematch Saturday at 4 p.m.
"It was a good game," he said. "West Virginia played hard and we had to work to get the win. I expect them to be ready to play hard again tomorrow and we're going to have to work harder tomorrow than today and to not only match but exceed their energy level."