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The Liberty Flames men’s Division II hockey dominated Elon and Millersville this past weekend behind the strength of hat tricks from Brad and Devon Docksteader.
LU squashes Elon, 10-1
The Flames played controlled, physical hockey as they steamrolled Elon, 10-1, in front of a packed house Friday, Sept. 20.
It did not take long for the Flames to get their scoring going. Within the first few minutes, Devon Docksteader snuck a shot past the Elon goalie and gave Liberty a lead they never lost. The goal had more significance for Docksteader, as it counted as one of his three total goals on the night — the first hat trick of his
Devon Docksteader and his brother, Brad Docksteader, proved to be a dangerous duo against Elon. In addition to Devon Docksteader’s hat trick, older brother Brad Docksteader scored a goal of his own. They combined for four of Liberty’s 10 goals.
“I guess it makes (me) want to play harder and be a step ahead of (my brother),” Devon Docksteader said.
The Docksteaders were not the only players to shine Friday night, however. Junior goalie Cary Byron shut out the Elon Phoenix until he was given a rest midway through the second period.
“When I’m in the net, I’m just focusing on the next shot,” Byron said. “When you start thinking about the score, that’s when you’re going to psyche yourself out, but (our defense) made it easy for me.”
The Flames defense allowed only one goal from Elon.
The offense also looked sharp at times, particularly with their puck control. Short, quick passes allowed the Flames to move the puck effectively around the net. Senior Bobby Cervone scored a particularly difficult goal in the first period, smacking a loose puck into the net only seconds before crashing into the goal.
Jordan Barstead, Jeff Boschman, Ben Freymond, Daniel Huntington and Josh King also scored goals to bring the Liberty total to 10.
Head Coach Chris Lowes seemed pleased with his team’s performance, although he realized they still have improvements to make.
“We still made more mistakes than I would like to see three games in,” Lowes said. “We took a few penalties, which allowed us to work on our penalty kill, but we would like not to make that a habit.”
Lowes said his team’s mindset stayed the same from start to finish.
“The mentality shouldn’t change, and that’s what we were preaching — that we still want the same intensity of a tie game,” Lowes said. “By no means were we asking our guys to slow up and stop putting them in the net.”
There was also one more important piece of the game — the fans. The LaHaye Ice Center was packed with dedicated fans Friday, including many who stayed to the very end.
Flames beat Millersville, 8-4
Liberty’s Division II men’s hockey team scored eight goals Saturday on its way to beating the Millersville University Marauders, 8-4.
Brad Docksteader led the Flames with a hat trick, scoring one goal in each period. Five other Flames added goals of there own as well. Liberty finished the first period up 3-1 over Millersville.
In the second period, Brad Docksteader scored less than 20 seconds in after circling around Millersville’s goal and slipping the puck past the goalie.
Later in the period, Boschman scored when he exited the penalty box at the exact moment the Flames defense cleared the puck, giving him the opportunity to capitalize on a one-on-one.
Goals by forward Freymond and Docksteader late in the third period put Liberty up 8-2 with a little over 2:30 left in the game. However, Millersville took advantage of power plays to score two goals in the final two minutes of the game, bringing the score to 8-4.
In the third period, Millersville took advantage of two Flames penalties. Defenseman Lucas Ebel received a five minute penalty for boarding with 2:24 remaining in the third period. Thirty seconds later, his teammate Johnny Cotton received a two-minute penalty for tripping. Millersville took advantage as Chris Collins and Zack Zulliano each scored to finish out the game.
While Liberty held control for most of the game, Lowes was not pleased with the decision making of his players.
“A couple of them, I didn’t like,” Lowes said. “Our guys know better. A couple of them were guys just battling, (and) … other ones were part of the game, and they come with the territory. But you can’t give up five-on-threes against good teams. They exposed us.”
Lowes also talked about his overall impression of the game.
“It was a bigger test than we’ve had all year so far, and I thought we played pretty solid,” Lowes said. “We probably played 40 good minutes of 60 and tonight it was enough … We took a few penalties, and they capitalized, but on five-on-five I thought we played solid.”
Lowes said home games Sept. 27 against Christopher Newport University and Sept. 28 versus Bowling Green State University will be good tests for his team, and that playing complete games and avoiding plays just for show will be two keys for the upcoming