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The Liberty University D1 men’s hockey team lost by one goal to defending American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) champion University of Delaware Friday, Nov. 9th. The game was a defensive struggle down to the wire, but the Flames were unable to hold off the Blue Hens, losing 2-1.
The Flames found themselves on the defensive during the first several minutes but turned the momentum and outshot Delaware 13-6. Noble Tucker tended goal for the Blue Hens and made an impressive save on a shot made by senior Andrew McCombe at the end of the period.
Delaware outshot Liberty 10-9 in the second period, but Flames goalie Clayton Brown held off several attacks to keep the puck out of his net. At the halfway point in the period, Steven Bellow found the back of the net on a power play, putting Liberty in
In the third period, Delaware managed to gain control of the puck and put in a breakaway goal during a Liberty power play. Delaware found the back of the net again when Christopher Volonnino scored, giving them a 2-1 with eight minutes to go.
“We are definitely disappointed,” Head Coach Kirk Handy said. “We would have liked to have won the game, obviously. There were just some things that we didn’t accomplish tonight that we needed to.”
Liberty had a lot of penalties and a player ejected.
“We need to stay away from the penalty box,” Handy said. “Some are OK to take, but there was so many that we just ended up killing penalties all night and you can’t do that all night because it just tires the guys out. We come back to work tomorrow.”
Team captain McCombe was also unsatisfied with the final score and knew what the team had to do to change the outcome for the next game.
“It was pretty frustrating,” McCombe said. “We just got away from our system and what we do well, and it cost us the game tonight, but the best thing about hockey is you get to come back to the rink tomorrow and play a fresh one.”
The Liberty Flames D1 hockey team fell short once again to the University of Delaware Blue Hens 6-3 Saturday, Nov. 10. The Flames attempted a comeback from a 2-1 loss the night before, but were denied.
“We had a slow start, and putting us down 3-0 obviously was a major problem,” Handy said. “However, we got back in the game, made it 4-3, and then from that point, it was 4-3 till late in the 2nd period. We took five penalties in a row and six the rest of the way.”
The Blue Hens scored the first goal only 19 seconds into the game.
Liberty’s McCombe scored off an assist from Ryley Egan before the Blue Hens made it 4-1 by the end of the first.
Liberty answered in the second period with a goal from freshman Danny Logan assisted by Tyson Street and Paul Ingles two minutes into the period. Christian Garland then scored another goal for the Flames off a pass from McCombe, making it 4-3.
By the end of the second, the Blue Hens had made it 5-3. They finished it up in the third, leaving the final score at 6-3.
“Some of the opponents weren’t good ones,” Handy said. “Some of the penalties were definitely questionable, but regardless of it, we still took five penalties and let them back in the game. We had control when it was 4-3 and we knew if we scored the next one and tied it up, the momentum was going our way, but you know that happens, and we need to learn from it.”
After an eight-game winning streak to begin the season, the Flames have lost seven of eight with their only win against Ohio University.
“This season, we’ve definitely had more ups and downs than we would have wanted,” Handy said. “We want to go on a better run, and that’s the important part between now and Christmas. We play some good teams and need to play well.”
The Flames will head to Stony Brook, N.Y. to take on the Stony Brook Seawolves this Friday, Nov. 17 at 8:30 p.m.