Oct 14, 2008

Flames rally to beat Oakland

by William Armstrong

Overcoming adversity and coming from behind to win are two of the best feelings in sports. The Liberty Flames hockey team did just that in a 5-4 shootout victory and winning the next night 7-1 over the Oakland Grizzlies.

Winning the series stretches the Flames winning streak to seven games, brings the team to an overall record of 7-1 and ranks them fifth in the ACHA.
On the first night, Liberty treated its “College for a weekenders” to the most exciting game on any CFAW weekend in the 5-4 victory.

“It was a fantastic atmosphere to play in,” Coach Kirk Handy said. “The fans really propelled us to

The game marked the Flames first shootout since last season, first home shootout, Oakland’s second loss in a shootout this season.
From the opening faceoff it was a constant struggle between both teams, but Liberty took the opening lead.

Freshman Rob Vanwynsberghe deflected senior Kevin Hendrix’s slap shot between Oakland goaltender Collin Chase’s legs to give Liberty the early advantage.

The Grizzlies responded by reeling off four unanswered goals through the first two periods, but the remainder of the game is what everyone left talking about.

“In the first and second period, we played really sloppy, but in the third period the whole team turned it around and played well,” Handy said.

Two minutes into the final period, sophomore Johnny Chung scored a power play goal, redirecting a centering pass from junior Dave Semenyna, cutting the lead to 4-2.

Over six minutes later, Vanwynsberghe made a steal, skated down the left side, sent a pass in to junior Zac Bauman and Bauman deflected the pass top shelf to cut the lead to one.

At 6:03, Semenyna blasted a one timer on the power play from the right circle, sending LaHaye Ice Center into a frenzy and tying the game at four.

The game ended up tied through the remainder of the third period and overtime, which brought a shootout to resolve the tie.
Colin Way made two saves on the first two shooters he faced and both Semenyna and Hendrix scored goals on their attempts to win the game.

Hendrix, three assists, and Semenyna, goal and two assists, led the scoring, and Vanwynsberghe and Chung both contributed a goal and an assist.

Way stopped 38 of 42 shots for a .904 save percentage and his sixth win on the year.

The second game was a different story. A 7-1 win in which the power play and a solid game of hockey was the ingredient for the Flames success.

Through the first period Liberty was 100 percent on the power play on its first four chances.

Liberty started off short handed because of a pregame violation, when a player crossed the red line, going into the opposing team’s side of the ice in warm-ups.

Oakland made the Flames pay for the infraction by scoring 47 seconds into the game on a wrist shot beating Way to the glove side.
The Flames responded with four first period goals, three of which came on the power play.

Semenyna made moves around three defenders before finding Chung back door to tie the game at 1-1.

Vanwynsberghe continued the power play surge when he sent a wrister on net and the puck trickled through Grizzlies goaltender Collin Chase.

Chung tried to connect a pass through the crease, but Chase tipped it into his own net to increase the Flames lead to 3-1 and was Chung’s second goal on the power play.

After receiving a pass from Semenyna, Vanwynsberghe cut towards the middle, sent a backhander on net and Bauman made the easy tap in for another power play goal, ending the first period scoring with Liberty on top 4-1.

The only second period goal was scored under two minutes in as Semenyna wheeled around Grizzly defenders, found Chung, who put a shot on net and Vanwynsberghe scored off the rebound for his second goal of the game. Going into the third period, the Flames held a 5-1 lead.

On a 2-on-1 sophomore Eric Reynolds spun and found freshman brother Josh Reynolds who sent a wrist shot to the top right corner.
Finishing off the games scoring was freshman Colton Crossley, when he picked up a loose puck at center ice, closed in on the goaltender and fired a wrist shot between the Chase’s glove and pads.

Semenyna led all scorers with five assists, Chung had two goals and two assists, Vanwynsberghe added two goals and an assist, Hendrix assisted on two goals, and senior Ben Shaw, Bauman, both Reynolds, freshman Joe Smith, freshman Mackenzie Bauman and Crossley all tallied a point.

After the weekend sweep of Oakland, the Flames home record stands at 4-1 and justifying their current No. 5 ranking in the ACHA.
Liberty plays at home next weekend, when they face off Saturday, Oct. 17, at 8 p.m. against the Southern Professional Hockey League’s Richmond Renegades.



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