Kuhn, McCombe enjoy ACHA DI All-Star showdown in Detroit
March 22, 2014 | Detroit, Mich.
Liberty University senior defenseman Jackson Kuhn proved he is a legitimate scoring threat for the Flames' ACHA Division I men's hockey team this season, ranking fourth with 43 points (16 goals, 27 assists).
At Saturday's seventh annual ACHA Division I All-Star Game at the Farmington Hills Ice Arena in Detroit, Kuhn continued to flaunt his offensive skills in the showcase event, assisting the go-ahead goal and scoring another that extended the lead to two late in the home team's 11-8 victory.
"I was able to beat my defender, got the puck in the high slot, and put it under the goalie's blocker in the bottom left corner," Kuhn said.
He nearly matched the offensive production of fellow Flames senior captain Andrew McCombe, Liberty's third-leading scorer on the season (18G, 37A) who started at forward for the visiting side, scoring a goal and distributing two assists in defeat.
"We had an awesome time," Kuhn said. "For us to combine for five points, showcasing Liberty's talent, we both really enjoyed it and we are really glad that we went. You could tell right away from the puck drop that the guys really respected us."
|Flames senior defenseman Jackson Kuhn contributed a goal an assist for the winning home all-stars on Saturday.|
Playing on opposing teams for the first time in their careers, other than at a College For A Weekend exhibition game last spring, took a little getting used to, with Kuhn wearing Liberty's home white jersey and McCombe sporting the Flames' road blue. Kuhn allowed McCombe to get off a couple shots while covering him, but didn't show any favoritism to his good friend after he scored at the end of the first period.
"I knew I had to get him back, to get more physical going into the second period, and right on the first shift, I absolutely laid out McCombe with the first big hit of the game," Kuhn said.
McCombe didn't hesitate to return the favor.
"I was coming off the ice and wasn't even looking, watching the play develop, when he put me into the boards," Kuhn said. "(The other all-stars) wanted us to drop the gloves. It was a running joke."
The game — which featured four offensive lines, five defensemen, and two goalies for a total of 19 players per side — was also a unique opportunity to befriend one-time teammates from rival programs. Kuhn found it especially odd to play alongside Davenport senior defenseman Phil Wendecker, who he had played against 14 times over the past four seasons, and Stony Brook junior forward Sam Brewster.
"We have fought two or three times in our career, so it was funny giving him the puck when you're used to having him come right at you on the forecheck," Kuhn said. "It was a lot of fun."
In the shootout showdown that preceded the game, McCombe experienced more success, advancing to the Final Four by scoring on two of his first three chances.
Kuhn had two backhanded shots glove saved by Naval Academy goalie Andrew Mills, who started in the Midshipmen's 4-3 overtime upset of the Flames in the second round of the March 7 ACHA DI National Championships.
McCombe and Kuhn were accompanied by Liberty Associate Head Coach Jeff Boettger on the 10-hour trip from Lynchburg, Va., and met up with several family members who made the six-hour journey from Ontario, Canada.
"My brother and sister came down to see me play one last time (for Liberty) and a bunch of friends who hadn't seen me play," Kuhn said. "It was really encouraging."