Feb 16, 2010

LU Hockey Rocks Rugters

by Ryan Walter

The Flames hockey squad continued its late season dominance with a win over the Rutgers Ice Knights Saturday night. Liberty came out flying, after being tied 2-2 in the first, with six consecutive goals for an 8-2 victory. It was both a decisive and important game as the national tournament looms closer.

“We improved period by period with overall strong play,” Assistant Captain Joe Smith said. “We knew that the results of the game could seriously affect our national ranking and we needed to win big in order to have a chance at moving up the standings.”

The Flames looked sharp, notching two goals early in the first period to go ahead. Captain Zac Bauman scored the first with an impressive individual effort.

“I just came out of the (penalty) box, knocked it out of the guys stick and just threw it on net,” Bauman said. “The goalie bobbled it, and I knocked it in.”

Sophomore Greg Jensen followed up Bauman’s effort with a hard-earned goal of his own. The Flames looked like they would be on their way to another dominant victory, however, Rutgers had other intentions. The Ice Knights were able convert two quick goals at the end of the first to even the score at two.

“(We) lacked intensity. We wanted to come out hitting and we just didn’t do our jobs,” assistant coach Mike Binnie said. “Thankfully (goalie Matt Pederson) was steady throughout the whole game.”

The Liberty crew came out looking like a new team in the second period, scoring three unanswered goals to take a commanding lead. Senior Ryan Walter converted the third and eventual game winner, batting home a rebound off of senior Cory Rice’s initial shot. A goal from junior Jonathon Chung and a nifty tally from freshman Brent Boschman kept the Rutgers squad on their heels. The Ice Knights would not be able to recover.

“In the second I thought we really picked it up,” Bauman said. “There were still a few things we had to work on but I thought we worked hard.”

The third period was all Brent Boschman. He started the period off with a wrist shot that beat the goalie in the top right corner. Later he tipped in a power play shot from the point to get his third goal of the game to complete the hat-trick.

“It was on the power play, and I was just in front of the net,” Boschman said. “I was just trying to get good body position, and I got a piece of it.”

That was not it for Boschman as he assisted on junior Eric Reynolds goal. Reynolds got the puck and wired a shot right between the Rutgers’ goalie’s legs for Liberty’s eighth and final goal of the game.

“I thought the third period was our best period,” sophomore Mac Bauman said. “We had more chances and we played better offensively.”

The win is the last one for Liberty before the final ranking of the season. The currently sixth ranked Flames are hoping to improve their position for the National Tournament.

With only four games left in the regular season, every game will be important for gaining momentum leading up to Nationals.
With many of the top ranked teams losing this week, Liberty hopes for a generous rankings update.

Liberty will look for revenge as it takes on the Oakland University Golden Grizzlies this weekend. Liberty enters the game with two losses at Oakland earlier this season. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

Contact Ryan Walter
at rmwalter@liberty.edu.
 


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