DIII Flames start Saturday at home vs. ECCHA rival Richmond
September 21, 2018 | Lynchburg, Va.
A handful of the nine new players on Liberty University's ACHA Division III men's hockey team's 25-man roster attended the Flames Hockey Prospect Camp, held in conjunction with College For A Weekend (CFAW) last April.
"We had a lot of good recruits at the skate, so it is nice to see that recruiting paying off for the program," Flames Head Coach Jared Smith said. "Some of the newer guys have a ton of talent, so we will see how well they can transfer it into a game this weekend."
Liberty opens its 2018-19 season Saturday at 1 p.m. against the University of Richmond at the LaHaye Ice Center. After playing as an independent program the past two seasons, it will mark the Flames' debut in the new East Coast Collegiate Hockey Association (ECCHA), which includes the Spiders as well as UNC Wilmington, Coastal Carolina, and Christopher Newport.
The ECCHA is a revamped version of the Blue Ridge Hockey Conference that Liberty competed in through 2016.
Games originally scheduled for Oct. 5-6 at Coastal Carolina may be relocated due to flooding from Hurricane Florence that affected that area near Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Smith is eager to get his first season at the helm underway after serving the past four seasons as assistant coach under Rett McGibbon, who was his coach as a forward for the Flames from 2009-11.
"I'm very excited," he said. "They guys have been gelling really well, and everything's been flowing in practice. It's all about transferring it to when the pressure's on in a game."
Offensively, Liberty will look for leadership from Jassman, fellow senior forward Brandon Smith, and junior center Bobby Piccerillo.
"We do have a lot of speed and one of our team strengths is our depth," Smith said. "Judging from practice, our offense seems to be pretty well balanced. We don't rely on one or two lines. We can rely on all four, whoever's got the hot hand."
Defensively, Brown will be matched with sophomore T.J. Moores, while sophomore Thomas Kazmierczak and senior Jeremy Barstead will form another strong pairing.