Club Sports News

Liberty nets five unanswered goals, surges past Stevenson

October 19, 2018  |  Stevenson, Md. 

Senior forward Lauren McDonald scored the last two goals in Liberty's 5-1 win on Friday night. (Photo by Nathan Spencer) test test test test
Senior forward Lauren McDonald scored the last two goals in Liberty's 5-1 win on Friday night. (Photo by Nathan Spencer)

Junior forward Alex Smibert distributed three assists and junior forward Shannon Fehr and senior forward Lauren McDonald each scored twice to lift Liberty University's ACHA Division I women's hockey team to a 5-1 victory Friday night at Stevenson (Md.) University, an NCAA Division III program.

"It was a good game, a good weekend for us," Liberty Head Coach Chris Lowes said. "The trip served its purpose. We had quite a few special teams opportunities both last night and tonight, so we got some really good reps both on the power play and on the penalty kill."

The Lady Flames (7-0-1) scored two power-play goals and killed all of their penalties on the night, giving up only the game's first goal on a breakaway with 20 seconds left in the first period.

Liberty netted the equalizer 15 seconds later when Fehr capitalized on her first goal five seconds before the first intermission.

Three-and-a-half minutes into the second period, Fehr recorded her second score — Liberty's first on the power play — finishing Smibert's first assist for what proved to be the game-winner. Less than three minutes after that, the Lady Flames went on another power play, and sophomore forward Shelby Bradford stretched the lead to 3-1 by putting away Smibert's second assist just six seconds into the five-on-four advantage.

Then, just nine seconds after killing three consecutive penalties, McDonald netted her first of two scores at even strength set up by a beautiful tic-tac-toe pass sequence from Smibert on a fast break with 4:54 left in the second.

"They had a really nice give-and-go on a two-on-one," Lowes said. "It was a quick rush back after the penalty and they made them pay."

Finally, McDonald tipped in a shot from junior forward Rachel Gibson to put the win on ice with 1:17 remaining in regulation.

"It was a tighter game for a while, but like Thursday (when the Lady Flames beat Neumann 7-2), we broke it open," Lowes said after the Lady Flames' second win over an NCAA Division III opponent in as many nights. "They're a good team. They had some dangerous speed that was a challenge, and they exposed a couple things. But our penalty kill was really good tonight as a team."

For the game, Liberty outshot Stevenson 37-26 with junior goalie Nadia Rupoli making 25 saves to notch the win, improving to 5-0 with two shutouts and a goals-against average below 1.00.

The defending ACHA DI national champion Lady Flames will travel to Michigan for three games next weekend: against the Wolverines on Thursday at 10 p.m., at national runner-up Adrian on Friday at 3 p.m., and again at Adrian on Saturday at noon.

"It will be another three-game road trip and good test of our endurance," Lowes said. "Michigan and Adrian are both high-end teams, and we'll be looking forward to the rematch with (the Bulldogs). We'll be ready to roll."


By Ted Allen/Staff Writer

Women's D1 Hockey Links

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