Club Sports News

Lady Flames swap spots with Northeastern in ACHA DI poll

January 30, 2014  |  Lynchburg, Va. 

Liberty senior forward and captain Nikki McCombe (left) celebrates with junior defenseman Madi Fischer (12) after Fischer's goal against No. 1 Miami at the LaHaye Ice Center.

Last Friday's upset of No. 1 Miami (Ohio) University at the LaHaye Ice Center boosted Liberty University's ACHA Division I women's hockey team to No. 7 in the third of four national rankings, released Wednesday night.

The top eight teams in the final rankings, set to be released the week of Feb. 23, will advance to the ACHA DI National Championships, to be held March 13-16 at Fred Rust Arena in Newark, Del., also site of the March 6-11 ACHA DI men's tournament.

"Obviously, if we hadn't been able to do as well as we did against Miami, that would have put us out of the nationals picture permanently," Liberty Head Coach Paul Bloomfield said. "Now that we're just inside the door, we've got to work hard to stay there."

Just seven points separate the Nos. 6 through 9 teams in the poll, with the Lady Flames (123 points) trailing Grand Valley State by three points and leading eighth-ranked Michigan by one point and ninth-ranked Michigan State by four. Liberty lost at Grand Valley State, 2-1 on Jan. 11.

Miami remained at the No. 1 position, receiving all 18 first-place votes for the second straight poll.

Locked in at No. 10 for the first two polls, the Lady Flames (10-8-4) swapped places with Northeastern (11-7-1), the team they will host this Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday at 9:45 a.m. at LaHaye. Both games will be webcast live through the Liberty Flames Sports Network.

The 2012 national champion Huskies have lost three of four games in 2014, all to No. 3 Rhode Island (18-4-3) – by 9-1, 6-2, and 3-1 scores.

After it tied and lost to Northeastern, Nov. 2-3 in Boston, Liberty defeated the Lady Rams on Nov. 22 when they were ranked No. 2, but still didn't move up in the second national rankings on Dec. 15.

"They're probably not going to like what happened," Bloomfield said of the Huskies. "We actually outplayed them when we were up there, (but) they've had a bit of a rough go since Christmastime and we took them out (in the poll)."

He warned his players at practice Wednesday night that Northeastern will be motivated to upset the Lady Flames this weekend to move back into the top eight.

"They're going to be looking for us," Bloomfield said. "I'm sure they're not going to lay down and let us tromp all over them. They won nationals a couple years ago and are still a team to contend with."

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