Oct 28, 2008

Lady Flames Melt Icers

by Natalie Lozano

After a weekend of wins in Michigan, the Lady Flames (7-0) hockey team took the ice against Penn State (1-7), defeating the Lady Icers 11-0 on Friday and 6-1 on Saturday.

Sophomore Kristin Fescura and freshman Megan Nunn led the team in scoring with six goals each during the weekend. Freshman Melissa Fletcher had two goals, with freshman Naomi Taylor, sophomore Brooke Harris and sophomore Sara Neimi adding one point each to the board during the weekend.

Penn State’s Sara Chroman was the only Icer to score, doing so in the last 30 seconds of Saturday’s game.

Junior Patti Smith and sophomore Leanne Niemi played between the pipes Friday and Saturday, respectively. Penn State’s goal was guarded by sophomores Brittany Frohnhoefer and Colleen Scott on Friday, with Frohnhoefer reprising the role exclusively on Saturday.

Coach Paul Bloomfield cited the goalies as the primary differentiator between Liberty and the competition.

“Our goal tending has been outstanding,” Bloomfield said. “Some of these teams that we’re beating, they’re not that bad a team. It’s just their goal tending isn’t as strong and that makes all the difference.”

On Friday, Liberty impressively scored twice in one minute in the second period, but then in the third period put two points on the board in a mere 11 seconds.

The goals came from 94 shots on goal by Liberty and 50 shots on goal by Penn State. However, the statistics don’t tell the whole story.

“For some reason Penn State seems to be our rivals, and I’m not sure why because we’re stronger than them,” Bloomfield said.
The relationship was forged two years ago when goalie Patti Smith received a concussion at the hands of current Penn State captain, senior Jessica Waldron.

Smith was “two-handed across the neck” in 2007 and said the effects of the injury were felt six months later.
Waldron came at Liberty’s goalie again on Friday night, but this time Smith was only “slashed on the leg.”

Smith’s teammates responded quickly to the uncalled-for attack, breaking into a fight in front of the goal. Ultimately Fletcher, freshman Caitlin Adams and Penn State’s Waldron watched the last 11 seconds from the penalty box.

“It’s nice to know your teammates will stick up for you,” Smith said.

The hostility continued Saturday afternoon when Waldron was hit from behind and was forced to leave the ice. Icer Head Coach Mo Stroemel argued intent to injure, but the referees and the Lady Flames saw sophomore Kristin Frescura’s action differently.

Frescura got two minutes for roughing, one of the 21 penalties that the two teams racked up in 102 minutes of playing time.

“It puts a damper on the whole game,” Smith said. “You don’t want to see anybody get hurt.”

The penalties and injuries were the main reason why the Lady Flames said the Penn State games were not their best.

Asst. Coach Scott Bloomfield described Saturday as “a scrappy game, but the girls worked hard.”

Smith and Harris agreed that the quality of their playing, especially the general behavior by the Lady Flames could have been better.

“We played hard, considering they had twice as many players,” Captain Sara Niemi said.

“I think these games are good games for us to kind of fortify and reinforce some of the things we’ve been working on,” Head Coach Paul Bloomfield said.

The next time Penn State and Liberty face each other will be in University Park, Penn. in January 2009. Liberty’s next two contests come against Ohio State University next Friday and Saturday at Ohio State.

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