DII Flames clinch MACHA South with shootout loss to UMBC
January 26, 2014 | Lynchburg, Va.
Liberty University's ACHA Division II men's hockey team nearly managed an encore performance of Friday night's dramatic 4-3 come-from-behind triumph over Delaware, Saturday night against the University of Maryland-Baltimore County at the LaHaye Ice Center.
But the visiting Retrievers got a hat trick from sophomore forward Zac Tracy and some clutch saves by junior goalie Jon Drago to emerge with a 4-3 shootout win.
"Very similar to (Friday) night," Flames head coach Chris Lowes said. "Despite what I thought was a dominating first period, we still came out in the hole. The second, we looked lost and they just outworked us and outplayed us. We had to battle out of a hole in the third and we did it, so this weekend was interesting. There's positives and negatives. We showed we can battle back and stay calm under the pressure of being down."
In a back-and-forth affair, Liberty (22-6-1, ranked fifth in the latest Southeast Region poll) answered every goal scored by UMBC (16-6-1, ranked fourth) until junior forward Matthew Bloom lifted his wrist shot past Flames junior keeper Cary Byron into the upper right corner of the cage for the clincher in the shootout.
After sophomore forward Jeff Boschman tied it at 1-1 seven minutes into the second period off assists from freshman defenseman Bannon Lynott and freshman forward Ben Freymond, sophomore forward Paul Ingles knotted it at 2-2 on a power play goal six minutes into the third. Trailing 3-2 in the final minute of regulation, Liberty senior forward Brad Docksteader put the finishing touches on senior defenseman Greg White's shot from the top of the left circle deflected through the crease by freshman forward and younger brother Devon Docksteader.
Twelve seconds later, Ingles was tripped, putting the Flames on the power play for the final 44 seconds of regulation — which ended with Ingles glancing a last-second shot off the right pipe — and the first 1:16 of overtime, when Liberty mounted a threat but couldn't put the puck in the net.
"We had some chances," Lowes said. "We hit a couple of posts late in the game and in overtime we had that power play and we peppered them with some really good opportunities. That's just the game. We're fairly evenly matched and very similar in a lot of ways."
UMBC salvaged a season split with Liberty, but with the overtime loss, the Flames clinched first place in the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association's (MACHA) South Division, one point ahead of Virginia Tech.
In the MACHA tournament, Feb. 14-16 at Ice World in Abingdon, Md., the Flames will draw a first-round matchup with Delaware, which topped the Hokies in a shootout Saturday. That was one night after its dramatic loss at Liberty and UMBC's 3-2 shootout win over Tech in Roanoke.