Club Sports News

Flames fall to Lakers in OT in opener of ACHA DII pool play

March 20, 2015  |  Salt Lake City, Utah 

Senior goalie Blair Bennett, flanked by sophomore defenseman Roger Roulette, stood tall for the Flames throughout the 4-3 overtime loss to the Lakers. test test test test
Senior goalie Blair Bennett, flanked by sophomore defenseman Roger Roulette, stood tall for the Flames throughout the 4-3 overtime loss to the Lakers.

Liberty University's ACHA Division II men's hockey team, seeded fourth in its four-team pool at the National Championships, battled top-seeded Grand Valley State to the bitter end, Friday afternoon in the Salt Lake City Sports Complex, suffering a 4-3 setback in overtime.

In a rematch of last year's first-round game, won by the Flames in OT, the 2011 national champion Lakers (25-6-2) exacted a measure of revenge. They netted the game-winner with 2:24 left in the 10-minute extra period when defenseman Nicholas Heinrich one-timed a shot from the blue line that snuck past Liberty senior goalie Blair Bennett, who was screened on the play.

Following a scoreless first period in which Bennett played with poise and made several clutch saves, the Flames (18-11-1) shifted the offensive pressure in their favor and started the scoring with 15:30 left in the second period. From a difficult angle, sophomore forward Ben Freymond deflected a low shot taken from the top of the circle by sophomore defenseman Roger Roulette through the five-hole, beating Grand Valley State goalie Spencer Craig.

With the Lakers on a power play, Grand Valley State had one scoring chance glance off Bennett's shoulder and the crossbar before forward Colin Finkhouse threaded a backhand through Flames defensemen and Bennett's pads to even the contest at 1-1.

The Flames responded with 3:37 left in the period when sophomore forward Devon Docksteader's shot from in the right circle deflected off a Lakers defenseman and inside the right post, lifting Liberty to a 2-1 lead.

After a penalty kill by the Flames, that's how the second period ended before Grand Valley tallied the tying and go-ahead goals in a span of 55 seconds late in the third.

Forward Ian Hamilton netted the equalizer off a faceoff won by center Anthony Russo in Liberty's defensive zone with 6:26 left in regulation before forward Troy Marrett's wrist shot deflected past Bennett and gave the Lakers a 3-2 edge with 5:29 to go.

Flames sophomore defenseman Ryan Sidun leveled the score for a third time by finishing a quick slap shot off an assist from junior forward Peter Kazmierczak through Craig's five-hole with 3:18 left, forcing the overtime.

To stand a chance of advancing to Monday's Final Four, Liberty now must win its last two games of pool play — Saturday at 12:30 p.m. (EST) against Northern Arizona and Sunday at 4:30 p.m. (EST) against New York University, which defeated the Lumberjacks 3-1 in Friday's first game.

All games are being webcast live by the University of Utah. 

Men's D2 Hockey Links

No events scheduled for this team.

Apr 19
Men's D2 Hockey
at Nationals Semi - University of Mary
L (0-7)

Apr 17
Men's D2 Hockey
at Florida Gulf Coast University
W (4-1)

Apr 16
Men's D2 Hockey
at Aurora University
W (8-5)

Apr 15
Men's D2 Hockey
at Concordia Univ-Wisc.
W (2-0)

Mar 28
Men's D2 Hockey
vs. Exhibition Game
W (3-1)

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