The LaHaye Ice Center was packed with fans Friday, Sept. 27, as the Liberty Flames defeated the Towson University Tigers 10-0.
In the game, Flames goaltender Blair Bennett was back in the net for the first time since tearing his ACL at the end of last season.
Although Liberty outshot Towson 55-11, Bennett skillfully deterred any pucks the Tigers attempted to get past him.
The Flames caged the Tigers in a game that demonstrated the skill and a wide range of scoring ability present on the ice.
“The team played well,” junior forward Lindsay LeBlanc said. “We’re playing consistent hockey to start the season strong, looking to be better every week.”
LeBlanc scored the first two goals of the game and assisted on goals by freshman forward Brandon Mistal and senior captain Andrew McCombe. He completed his hat trick with an unassisted goal in the third period.
McCombe also had a big night with two goals and four assists, which gave him the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division I (DI) scoring lead. McCombe has totaled five goals and seven assists for 12 points this season.
McCombe’s first goal was assisted by LeBlanc and Steven Bellew in the first period, and his second, which he scored at the beginning of the second period, was unassisted.
Two minutes into the second period, Bram Erikson also scored off an assist by freshman forward Charles Williams, giving the Flames 6-0 advantage.
Williams and freshmen forwards Robert Ward and Mistal not only assisted on goals, but also each added a goal.
“If our team can continue to play three periods of hockey like we did last night, we can really go a long way,” Williams said. “All the hard work and effort we put in during the offseason is starting to become evident in our play on the ice.”
One of the only low points during the game for Liberty came at the end of the first period when junior defenseman and assistant captain Matt Sherry sustained a lower leg injury, after crashing into the boards.
Although Sherry is expected to be out for the next two to three weeks, Brandon Cox is expected to be called up from Liberty’s Division II team as a replacement.
Cox, a sophomore defenseman, will travel with the DI team next weekend as they take on Ohio University.
“Our first big test this season will be next weekend when we travel to Ohio,” LeBlanc said. “Adjustments will definitely be made, but our team will stand strong and fight to maintain the same speed and accuracy that has allowed for our wins so far this season. We are all very expectant and excited.”