Flames stay at No. 4 in ACHA DI rankings before break
December 11, 2013 | Lynchburg, Va.
Following Saturday night's 6-3 victory over rival Virginia Tech in the final hockey game of the semester at the LaHaye Ice Center, Liberty University's ACHA Division I men's hockey team remained at No. 4 in the 12th national rankings released on Wednesday.
The Flames (20-3) will savor a month-long break from the ice before being thrown back into the fire with two games Jan. 10-11 at No. 10 Stony Brook (N.Y.), a team it split a pair of games against last month at LaHaye.
"The break comes at a really good time for us," Liberty Head Coach Kirk Handy said. "We have guys who were pretty banged up at the end of the semester and the break will allow their bodies to heal and rest up for the second semester. The guys will be back Jan. 3 for a week of practice before we go to New York."
He said sophomore defenseman Kyle Miller and junior forward Christian Garland (shoulder) should be fully recovered from injuries by then and expects junior defenseman Matt Sherry (knee) to return sometime in late January.
Liberty will take its longest trip of the season, flying to Tempe, Ariz., to challenge No. 1 Arizona State (23-0) Jan. 16 and No. 12 Arizona in nearby Tucson, Ariz., Jan. 17-18 before returning to LaHaye to host the top-ranked Sun Devils twice more Jan. 24-25. Arizona State beat the Wildcats, its closest rival, for the 36th consecutive time on Saturday.
"Our first seven games of the new year are a great opportunity for our program to take another step forward," Handy said.
The Flames will conclude the month of January by traveling to No. 9 Delaware, which it swept Nov. 8-9 at LaHaye.