DII Lady Flames set season scoring mark with four games left
February 10, 2017 | Lynchburg, Va.
Liberty University's ACHA Division II women's hockey team showcased its offensive improvement this season and snapped a 10-game losing streak with a breakout series against new ACHA DII and College Hockey East opponent Pittsburgh, last weekend, racking up 14-0 and 9-2 victories late Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at the LaHaye Ice Center.
"This season, we currently have the most goals scored since the programs start with 56, and there are four games still to go," Lady Flames Head Coach Sara Niemi said, noting that Liberty is now tied for fifth out of 22 teams in the East ACHA for most goals scored, and tied for 11th of 41 teams in all of ACHA DII for most goals scored. "In past years, offense has been the weaker part of our game, so it is extremely encouraging to see that area starting to take shape."
Sophomore center Julie Richards sparked the Lady Flames' attack with two goals in the first two minutes of Saturday night's opener against the Panthers before junior defenseman Ashley Wright, senior forward Emily Wright, and freshman defenseman Kerry Morris added goals to build Liberty's lead to 5-0 before the first intermission.
Senior forward Kjrstin Hoberg, Ashley Wright, and junior forward Karis Hicks netted goals in the second period before Wright and Hoberg completed their hat tricks in the third and graduate defenseman Alyssa Davis, Morris, and Richards finished with two goals apiece.
"We were not sure what to expect (from the visiting Panthers) and the ladies came out hungry for a win," Niemi said. "The team played very confident and produced a lot of offense, which is something we have been working on all season. Our defense was also strong, helping (junior goalie) Faith Gerber post her first shutout of the year."
In Sunday's rematch, Hoberg recorded another hat trick and Liberty also got goals from graduate defenseman and head captain Kaitlyn Scales, Ashley Wright, Morris, junior forward Paige Moore, Emily Wright, and Davis.
The Lady Flames (4-12) opened the New Year by being swept at sixth-ranked Navy (5-0 and 4-2 losses) on its Olympic-sized rink in Annapolis, Md., and seventh-ranked West Chester ( Pa., 7-0 and 4-1), with Gerber making 105 saves in two games. This weekend, Liberty travels to College Park, Md., for games against 11th-ranked Maryland at 10:45 p.m. Saturday and 7:45 p.m. Sunday.
The Lady Flames will return to their home ice next weekend to conclude their regular season with a two-game series against Rochester Institute of Technology, set for Saturday at 10 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m.