Lady Flames sweep Lakers on their home ice; Panthers next
December 1, 2018 | Hudsonville, Mich.
Sophomore forward Shelby Bradford, who earned ACHA Division I women's hockey national tournament MVP honors after Liberty University's second title in four seasons last March, put the finishing touches on Saturday night's 7-2 victory at Grand Valley State in spectacular fashion.
"It was a pretty sick goal," Lady Flames Assistant Coach Leah Carlson said of Bradford's unassisted effort. "She pulled (the puck) through an opponent's feet and fell over and slid on her stomach as she scored."
Bradford was one of six different scorers as Liberty (16-1-2, ranked second in ACHA DI) showcased its depth with a decisive sweep of the No. 8 Lakers at Georgetown Ice Center in Hudsonville, Mich.
Freshman forward Grace Machholz started the scoring for the Lady Flames, finishing feeds from junior forward Vanessa DeMerchant and sophomore forward Danica Polson. DeMerchant netted the next two, with the first assisted by senior forward Lauren McDonald and graduate defenseman C.J. Tipping and the second set up by sophomore forward Shannon Fehr and junior forward Alex Smibert.
"(DeMerchant) did a good job leading the team today," Carlson said. "We were proud of all of the girls. It was a whole team effort. They came prepared and ready to play."
Liberty outshot Grand Valley State 49-19 and junior goalie Nadia Rupoli made 17 saves, only letting the Lakers score single goals in the first and second.
Smibert began the second period by finishing feeds from junior forward Aly Morris and McDonald (three assists) before Tipping stretched the Lady Flames' lead to 5-2 by converting an assist from freshman forward Aislyn Stretch.
Fehr opened the third period by putting away a pass from Machholz before Bradford slid home the final score.
Liberty will conclude its second three-game Michigan road trip season and wrap up its fall semester schedule at Davenport, Sunday at 10:30 a.m. The Lady Flames routed the Panthers, 13-0 on Nov. 13, in the final game of a four-game weekend showcase at Liberty, but aren't looking past them.
"Our most important game is the next game," Carlson said. "We're excited about this first half of the season. The girls have done a really good job and I'm proud of the way they're handing themselves as student-athletes. We're done after tomorrow with finals all next week and the girls are going to benefit from the break, healing up their bodies before getting back to work after Christmas."