DIII Flames can't stem Crimson Tide in South Region opener
February 21, 2014 | Columbus, S.C.
Seeded No. 10 for its first-ever ACHA Division III South Region Playoffs, Liberty University's DIII men's hockey team opened a 3-1 lead by the end of the first period on third-seeded Alabama in Friday night's first-round game at the Plex Indoor Sports in Columbus, S.C.
But the Flames (16-5) gave up four unanswered goals over the final two periods and lost 5-3 in the single-elimination tournament, missing a shot at its first bid to the ACHA DIII National Championships.
"I'm proud of the boys," Liberty Head Coach Tristan Chambers said. "This was the first time we've ever been here and a lot of people were writing us off like we didn't have a chance and we proved a lot of people wrong. It was a great step for the DIII program."
After scoring first, the Flames allowed Alabama to tie it up before going back on top, 2-1, moments later. Senior forward Kyle Burman, one of nine seniors on the team, then netted a shorthanded goal to push Liberty's lead to 3-1 by the end of the first period.
"The boys were fired up at the start," Chambers said.
However, the Crimson Tide (16-9-2) stormed back to tie it up in the second before scoring twice more in the third, the last an empty-netter after the Flames pulled sophomore goalie Daniel Flaherty for the final minute and a half.
"Flaherty played phenomenally in net," Chambers said. "He made some great saves. We had to kill off a lot of penalties and we didn't have enough energy left."
Alabama netted the go-ahead goal with about four minutes left in regulation.
"After that, we got some pressure on them," Chambers said. "We had a couple scrambles in front of the goal, they had a couple blocked shots and we couldn't quite finish them off. They have a very good team and they had a little more depth than us. That's their school's only team, so it's a different dynamic."