Flames sweep weekend triple-header

Men’s DII hockey picks up three conference wins against East Carolina, Rowan U. and Virginia Tech

Game One

The Liberty University Division II men’s hockey team thrashed the East Carolina Pirates 13-2 after trailing 1-0 in the first period. The game was the first in a weekend showcase featured at the LaHaye Ice Center.

Senior Brad Docksteader led the way for Liberty University with three goals and two assists. Docksteader continues to lead the team with 39 goals overall. Freshman DJ Dinnison also chipped in with one goal and two assists.

Gauntlet — The Flames start conference play facing three different opponents. Photo credit: Jill Springer

“I have to thank my line mates. This year, we have been playing together the entire year,” Dinninson said. “(We) haven’t switched anything up with that. I give them all the thanks with my performance.”

Liberty dictated the play. Great rotation and keeping the puck in deep led to Liberty’s dominating display.

Goaltender Justin Gortman had a strong outing against East Carolina University, only giving up two goals.

“Today’s game was a must win,” senior Caleb Allison said. “If we had lost, we could have potentially dropped out of the top 10, and we wouldn’t have had a chance at home ice regionals.”

A key statistic during this game was the power play. The Pirates were 1-6 on the penalty, and the Flames were able to control East Carolina’s offense shorthanded, taking away their shooting lanes. In addition, the Flames added two short-handed goals against East Carolina.

Dinninson has contributed to Liberty’s high scoring. In his freshman year, Dinninson is second on the team with 40 points. He has also scored 17 goals and 23 assists this season.

“It’s my role on the team right now — to be a person who creates offense,” Dinninson said. “So, that’s what I have been focused on — trying to make good decisions. Get the puck on net, and if it goes in, it’s awesome. It’s been working out for me this year.”

Game Two

A solid outing for freshman goaltender Nick Devine and a two-goal effort from Docksteader lifted Liberty to an 8-1 victory over Rowan University Saturday, Feb. 2.

The scoring began five minutes into the game, when Junior Bobby Cervone cleaned up a mess in front of the net to make it 1-0. Less than two minutes after the Flames doubled their lead, Allison tucked in another loose puck, making it 2-0.

The offensive surge continued as Docksteader added another goal less than five minutes later, making it 3-0 heading into the first intermission. The Flames led the shot total 10-9 after the opening period, but Rowan came out on the attack in the second.

Help was on the way for Devine as fellow freshman Peter Kazmierack found the back of the net, moving the lead to 4-0. Another freshman added his name to the score sheet as Dinnison tucked in the puck that sealed the fate of Rowan goaltender Brien Bennet, who surrendered five goals on just 15 shots.

Heading into the third period, Devine seemed to be heading for a shutout, but in a minute’s time, Eric Schenk squeaked one between Devine’s pads, making it 5-1. Devine would not be shaken, however, and support continued his way.

“Our defense did a great job forcing shots wide so the shots (Rowan) had weren’t difficult to handle,” said Devine.

The victory marked their second win of the weekend and their fifth in six games.

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