Perhaps it was the 120 inches of snow that Oswego had recently received.
Maybe it was the long drive from right next to Lake Ontario.
Perhaps it was just the fact that the Flames came into the weekend looking to gear up for the ACHA Division-I tournament. Whatever the case, Liberty swept its weekend series against Oswego State by a combined score of 27-4.
Friday night, Liberty hockey honored two of its seniors.
Both will skate their last games wearing Flames jerseys at the tournament that starts on Wednesday.
Captain John Ziegler and Alternate Captain Jordan Wilson had their families on hand as the organization announced their impressive accomplishments to the cheering home crowd.
Ziegler reflected on his emotions as he prepares to play his final collegiate games.
“It’s bitter-sweet, but it’s been great. It’s been different, moving up one league. It’s been a lot of fun,” he said.
Ziegler has no plans to continue with hockey, but the experience is something that he’ll never forget.
After honoring its seniors, Liberty hockey got down to business.
Eleven players factored in for six goals in the first 20 minutes alone, as the Flames entered the locker room with a 6–1 lead.
Not a whole lot changed in the second period, as Liberty continued its dominance, scoring six more goals.
Sophomore Fred Booth-man scored two goals just 40 seconds apart.
In addition, the team’s leading scorer, freshman defenseman Dave Semenyna, added a goal and an assist to the totals.
Now, one would assume that after 40 minutes of completely dominating the opposition, the Flames would sit back on their laurels.
The Flames are not that type of team, though.
The third period went the way of the first two, as Liberty scored five more goals, including Boothman’s third of the night to complete the hat trick.
The only flaw in the period came 26 seconds in, as Oswego State’s Ethan Erick-son slipped one past goalie Mike Binnie.
Surprisingly enough, the hat trick was the first three goals of the year for Booth-man, but they could not have come at a better time.
Boothman said, “It’s good to get the monkey off your back, (but you’ve) got to have a line to do that.” He gave his linemates the credit.
Head Coach Kirk Handy was proud of his players. “Going into it and working hard the whole game...it’s nice for us to get our wheels going,” he said.
Saturday night went much the same as the night before, only with different stars. Freshman Zac Bauman ended the game with five points, including a hat trick plus one and an assist.
Ten other Flames tallied points the scoreboard as well, as Liberty beat Oswego State 10–2.
Sophomore John Langa-beer and freshman Kyle Dodgson, playing on the same line as Bauman, each had a goal and an assist, combining to be one of the most dangerous lines in the entire ACHA.
The line has only been playing together for a month, but as any Flames hockey fan will tell you, it is like they have been a part of the same line for years. The line combined for a total of 11 points on Friday and nine more the next night.
“When they start playing well, they’re one of the best lines in hockey,” said Handy.
With the regular season behind them, Handy and his squad look to the national championship. They will need their best from all players, especially goalies Mike Binnie and Dalton Stoltz. However, according to Shaw, conditioning is “the most important part of the game. Every single person (in the locker room) is in shape for nationals.”
“We’re going to need all four lines going,” said Handy.
The puck drops at 7 p.m. this Wednesday as the Flames face off against host Kent State University in the first round of the ACHA Division-I National Championships.
Contact Will Luper at email@example.com