Nov 11, 2008

Lady Flames hockey still undefeated, takes two from Montgomery

by Natalie Lozano

Liberty women’s hockey (11-0) faced the non-conference Montgomery Blue Devils (4-5-1) this weekend, winning 8-2 on Saturday and 5-0 on Sunday. The victories came after defeating Ohio State (1-9-1) on Nov. 2 and 3.

Montgomery took the lead Saturday, as Julie Benjamin recorded the first goal of the evening as she put her shot past freshman goalie Tierney Murphy within the first minute of play. While the final score of 8-2 reflected Liberty’s decisive win, the Lady Flames struggled to find their groove and went the first period without scoring. Although the team has had similar periods, they have been the first team on the board for each of the previous nine games.

“Sometimes when you play a team like this, the girls get it in their heads that they’ve got it wrapped up, so they come not prepared … that’s something we need to work on as a team,” Head Coach Paul Bloomfield said.

The Lady Flames came back with five goals in the second period, with goals by freshman Katrina Breedveld, sophomore Brooke Harris, freshman Megan Nunn, sophomore Kristin Frescura and junior Sara Niemi. Montgomery’s Amy Lipton also scored in the second, bringing the score to 5-2 at the end of the second period. In the third period, Harris, Frescura and freshman Naomi Taylor each added a point to the board, and the final score showed 8-2 in favor of the Lady Flames.

“I think when we played against them we knew that they were a U19 (Under-19 team) so we weren’t as prepared as we could have been mentally or physically,” freshman Kaitlin Adams said. “We realized that we weren’t playing very well so we picked it up in the second and third periods.”

Sunday morning, the Lady Flames shutout the Blue Devils 5-0 with goals by Breedveld, Frescura, Harris and sophomore Sarah Wilson.

“The girls played really well today… much more organized. I don’t know what the difference was, but they came to play hockey,” Bloomfield said of Sunday’s game. “Everybody stepped up and worked hard.”

The Blue Devils are an Under-19 youth league team with most of the players still in high school. Montgomery is one of the few non-American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) teams that the Liberty women will play this season.

“They’re obviously not in our division but these games are good because it gives us an opportunity to see maybe girls we could recruit and (also) it fills in our schedule,” Bloomfield said.

Freshman Melissa Fletcher played for the Blue Devils last year, although that was not how Liberty recruited her to play. She said it was “pretty fun” to play against her former teammates and her experience only provided a slight advantage.

“They get sloshy so you can get in their heads easily,” Fletcher said.

The ACHA ranks teams every month of the season and as of the Nov. 9 ranking, Liberty is ranked No. 4 nationally. In the East Region division, Liberty is second behind the University of Rhode Island.

Two Liberty players, Nunn and Frescura, are also ranked nationally in the top three for goals and points, a combination of a player’s goals and assists.

The women’s hockey team has two weeks off until it faces Lindenwood University (7-1-2) at home Nov. 22-23.


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