Lady Flames finish Fall with a flurry, rout Rhode Island
December 9, 2017 | Kingston, R.I.
What a wonderful way for Liberty University's top-ranked ACHA Division I women's hockey team to go into the Christmas break — on a 19-game winning streak.
The Lady Flames posted their third shutout in their last four games, defeating No. 13 Rhode Island at Boss Arena by the same 7-0 count as they did Nov. 3 in the UMass Showcase.
Liberty (19-2, 17-0 ACHA) outshot the Lady Rams (5-5-1) by a 44-7 whopping margin, helping sophomore goalie Nadia Rupoli to record her fourth shutout of the season.
"We're real happy with the win today," Liberty Head Coach Chris Lowes said. "The girls really responded. We put together a much more complete 60 minutes, eliminating a number of mistakes we made (in Friday night's 4-0 victory) and played with a lot more energy. It was a great way to end the semester, and we were happy not just with the result but with the effort. To go this semester undefeated in ACHA play is something I'm proud of and the girls did a great job."
The Lady Flames got goals from six different forwards, including two from junior Lauren McDonald, who moved into fifth place among ACHA DI scoring leaders with 29 points (17 goals, 12 assists). She scored the game's first goal just over four minutes after the opening faceoff and netted the fifth goal in the final minute of the second period after Liberty had two other goals disallowed.
Senior forward Courtney Gilmour lifted the Lady Flames to a 2-0 lead with 8:52 left in the first period before sophomore forward Vanessa DeMerchant extended the advantage to 3-0 with 2:38 to go before the first intermission.
Freshman forward Shannon Fehr increased the lead to 4-0 two and a half minutes into the second stanza before sophomore defenseman Rachel Gibson had her goal called back and the Lady Flames had another erased when the Rhode Island goalie lost her glove.
"It was a whole team effort," Lowes said. "Our forwards produced. We were disciplined, we were fast, and we were really buzzing around their net. And our defense played a great game, with intensity and a focus not to lose shifts or give up opportunities."
The Lady Flames will return to action with one of only four home series of the season against ACHA opponents, welcoming No. 3-ranked Michigan State to the LaHaye Ice Center on Jan. 12-13.
"That will be a nice way to kick off the Spring semester," Lowes said.