Mar 9, 2010

Hockey coughs up victory to Arizona State

by Ryan Walter

The Liberty Flames hockey team came up short in the first round of the National Tournament Saturday night. After going ahead 4-2 the Flames allowed five unanswered goals, including two empty net goals to lose 7-4 to the Arizona State University Sun Devils (ASU).

The Flames vastly outplayed the Sun Devils but ASU was able to capitalize — something the Flames failed to do.

“It was disappointing the way we went out,” sophomore Greg Jensen said. “We dictated the tempo but they got three lucky bounces.”

Liberty began the period with authority. Junior Stephen Moller was able to score the first goal of the period by roofing the puck past the ASU goalie. Senior Kyle Dodgson followed up Moller’s tally with one of his own on the power play. Dodgson skated down the right side and lifted a backhand shot over the shoulder of the Sun Devil’s goalie. Dodgson then threw another shot on net from the slot and it snuck into the ASU net to put the Flames up 3-1 at the end of the first period.

“We were in control of the game,” sophomore Mackenzie Bauman said. “(We) felt pretty comfortable with the two goal lead, we felt that if we played the way were playing we would have no problem.”

The second period saw the two teams exchange goals. Brent Boschman converted the power play goal that made the score 4-2. The Flames went into the third period up by two and close to moving on to the second round.

“There was a lot of confidence in the room,” sophomore Luke Aitken said. “All lines were firing and we were rolling.”

The Flames weren’t able to roll to a win. A quarterfinal berth wouldn’t be in the books for the Liberty squad. The Flames were able to hold off the Sun Devils for ten minutes until ASU was able to score five unanswered goals. Arizona State scored two goals to tie the game at 4-4 before scoring the winning goal with two minutes left in the game. They would add two empty net goals to seal the victory dash the Flames’ hopes for a National Championship.

“It is extremely frustrating to play as well as we did for so long and still come up short,” Assistant Captain Joe Smith said. “We outplayed them for fifty minutes and they caught a couple bounces and it was frustrating for that to be enough to win.”

The Flames ended the season ranked 10th with a 29-2-2 record.

Contact Ryan Walter at

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