Flames nip former Atlantic Division rival JMU in 2013 finale
December 6, 2013 | Lynchburg, Va.
Senior forward Kyle Burman netted a hat trick and Liberty University's ACHA Division III men's hockey team fended off a furious James Madison University comeback bid in the third period of a 3-2 victory, Friday night at the LaHaye Ice Center.
"It was a great game for Dan Flaherty goaltending," Burman said. "He bailed us out probably eight or nine times where the puck should have been in the back of the net. Really, that was the difference between winning or losing for us."
JMU ended Liberty's season last year with its third come-from-behind victory against the Flames, in the Blue Ridge Hockey Conference tournament's Atlantic Division semifinals at the LaHaye Ice Center.
This year, the two teams are in different divisions, with Liberty moving up to the BRHC's Colonial South Division, and Friday night's matchup — its last contest until Jan. 10 — was the only meeting of the season between the fierce rivals.
"It was a big win for us, obviously," said Burman, who played on the DII team last season but was made aware of the teams' history. "They knocked us out last year and we'd lost three straight to them. There was definitely a lot of emotion behind this win and we're just happy to come out with a W. It feels good to get the monkey off our backs."
Liberty improved to 14-1 with the narrow triumph, two weeks after posting 8-6 and 8-4 wins at Colonial South Division rival East Carolina University (13-3) Nov. 22-23.
Burman scored his first two goals off assists from Brandon Cockburn, with fellow senior forward Chris Gurreri recording the primary assist on the second that lifted Liberty to a 2-1 lead late in the first period.
"The first goal came on our second shift of the game when I shot it off the post and in," Burman said. "The second goal was an empty-netter off a great pass from Gurreri. The goalie was out of position and we caught him off guard."
Burman extended the Flames' lead to 3-1 with a power-play goal six minutes into the second period off an assist from senior defenseman Nate Atangan.
Liberty, ranked No. 12 in the ACHA South Region, returns to its home ice Jan. 10-11 for games against Colonial South Division foe UNC Charlotte and Radford, respectively.