Oct 6, 2009

Flames Scorch Penn State Berks in Blowout Weekend

by Daniel Martinez

Some would say attitude is everything in sports. The attitude a player has while participating in an athletic contest can alter the outcome. The Liberty University men’s hockey games against the Penn State Berks Blue Lions on Friday, Oct. 2, and Saturday, Oct. 3, were apparently no different.

“If you like the other team, you kind of feel bad for them,” Flames’ senior defenseman Dave Semenyna said of the weekend’s two overwhelmingly one-sided competitions. “But if they’re being kind of chippy, you don’t mind putting a few extra (goals) past them.”
Penn State’s players must have hard horrible attitudes this weekend — or, in Semenyna’s words, extremely chippy — because the Flames put every extra goal past them that they could manage, burying the Blue Lions to the tune of 15-1 Friday night and 14-2 on Saturday night.

“I think the first five minutes we were out-hitting them two or three times to one,” sophomore goalie Matt Pedersen said. “We played hard to start and we set the tone and they just weren’t able to match it.”

Coming into the weekend 4-0 on the season, ranked 9th by the American Collegiate Hockey Association among Division 1 teams, the Flames set a tremendous tone early in the series opener Friday night.

Freshman left wing Brent Boschman put the first point on the scoreboard in front of a large LaHaye Ice Center crowd less than two minutes into the game, and hearing the crowd’s elated reaction, the rest of the team must have wanted in.

When the ice settled and the first period was over, the Flames had scored seven more times — to one goal by Penn State.

It was a tense physical contest early, as players slashed and jabbed with their sticks and made hard rushes into the corner. Players were smashed into the wall by onrushing opponents bent on stealing the puck and making a run for the goal. The Flames gained the upper hand, keeping the Blue Lions on their toes with repeated shots on goal, laser-like passes from player to player on the fly, choking Penn State by keeping the action almost exclusively on their half of the ice.

“I felt bad for their goalies,” Pedersen said. “There were a few plays where they were hung out to dry by some of their defensemen.”

The Flames scored six unanswered goals in the second period, making it a 14-1 score through 40 minutes. With the comfortable lead, Liberty was able to rotate its players consistently throughout the last period.

“I think we had all of our team play [in the 2nd and 3rd periods],” Coach Kirk Handy said. “We [were able] to get some guys opportunities to play in some situations they don’t normally get to play in.”

The Flames scored the last goal – junior center Jonathan Chung’s third of the game – in the final period, topping off the explosive 15-1 victory. , Chung and Dodgson each netted hat tricks in the lopsided victory.

“The guys were playing well,” Chung said. “They moved the puck well – they gave me the puck. It just comes from hard work.”

“I think we were really unselfish tonight,” Dodgson said, alluding to the six different Flames who scored goals Friday night. “We looked for everybody on the ice, and we used everybody on the ice.”

Saturday night’s contest was every bit as unselfish, with eight Flames scoring goals in another physical contest.

After outscoring the Blue Lions just 3-1 in the first period, the Flames erupted under the lead of Boschman, who scored four of the team’s seven goals in the second period, blowing it wide open to the tune of a 10-2 advantage.

“Great passes from my teammates,” Boschman said of the best game of his young career. “I think they were all in on the power play.”

Speaking of the weekend’s two dominating victories, he added: “We’re rolling now.”

The Flames will roll to Pennsylvania next weekend to play 11th ranked Robert Morris University. They will play Robert Morris at home Oct. 16 and 17.

Contact Daniel Martinez at dpmartinez@liberty.edu .


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