No. 1 Lady Flames start 2018 at home vs. No. 3 Michigan St.
January 12, 2018 | Lynchburg, Va.
Liberty University's ACHA Division I women's hockey team opens spring semester action on a program-record 19-game winning streak as the No. 1-ranked Lady Flames host No. 3 Michigan State on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 9 a.m.at the LaHaye Ice Center.
"We had a very successful fall semester and right out of the gate this weekend, these are going to be two tough games, two important games, and the girls are excited for it," Liberty Head Coach Chris Lowes said. "We're happy with where we're at and have seen good progression and growth. The chemistry and team unity are coming and, in the next few months, we should be able to dial it in. Everyone is healthy for a stretch run here and to try to start gearing up for the ACHA DI National Championships."
The Lady Flames (19-2, 17-0 ACHA) have been the No. 1 team in the nation for all but one ranking period, and quickly remedied that by upsetting top-ranked Adrian on Nov. 17 in Michigan, reclaiming the No. 1 spot in the following week's poll.
"When we played Adrian, it brought out the best in us and I hope the same thing happens this weekend," Lowes said. "Michigan State is a lot like us. They have a couple top-end offensive players, a deep bench, and a lot of talent. They recruit well, in the hotbed of hockey in Michigan, and their program is thriving."
Liberty is 2-0-1 against the Spartans (9-2-1) over the past four seasons, including a 4-2 triumph in the teams' last meeting, Nov. 6, 2016, in the UMass Showcase.
"We have played a lot of similar opponents, including (No. 11) Michigan and (No. 2) Adrian," Lowes said, not to mention No. 8 UMass, No. 4 Colorado, Colorado State, and No. 10 Grand Valley State. "The top four or five in the country right now are really dangerous."
After playing 13 of its 17 ACHA contests on the road in the fall, the Lady Flames will look to capitalize on the rare home-ice advantage this weekend. They play five of their nine remaining regular-season games at LaHaye before nationals, March 14-18 in Columbus, Ohio.
"We're just trying to continue to play better hockey, to get up and excited for every weekend," Lowes said. "We want to have that mindset going into every game, to train the body so we don't have to flip a switch. We have good habits and good intensity and good execution."
The Liberty Flames Sports Network's live webcast of Saturday's game will be picked up by the Big South Network.