Flames ride special teams play to 7-1 rout of Rhode Island
October 11, 2019 | South Kingstown, R.I.
Special teams execution paved the way for Liberty University's ACHA Division I men's hockey team to extend its season-opening winning streak to seven with a 7-1 triumph over ESCHL rival Rhode Island on Friday night at Boss Arena in South Kingstown, R.I.
Late in the second period, the Flames (7-0, 1-0 ESCHL) netted three power-play goals in less than a minute during a five-minute major penalty assessed to the Rams (3-2, 0-1 ESCHL), boosting their lead from 2-1 to 5-1.
"It was a great game, and the turning point was definitely scoring three goals on the five-minute power play," Liberty Head Coach Kirk Handy said. "We didn't have a great start, but we finished well. We were 4-for-4 on the power play, including those three on the five-minute. That was the big difference maker tonight, for sure."
Senior defenseman Chaydan Lauber scored for the Flames at the 15:28 mark of the opening period, finishing a feed from graduate forward Zechariah Roberts. Rhode Island responded right away with a power-play goal of its own — the Rams' only conversion in three extra-man opportunities — 36 seconds later, tying the game at 1-1.
Sophomore forward Matt Bartel lifted Liberty to a 2-1 lead that it would not relinquish with the Flames' first power-play goal with 6:42 remaining in the second, capitalizing on assists from senior defenseman Garrett Nelson and sophomore forward Josh Fricks.
The Rams picked up the five-minute major with 4:45 to play in the second period, enabling the Flames to open the floodgates. Roberts finished the first, off assists from senior forward Quinn Ryan and senior defenseman Jacob Fricks with 2:08 left. Bartel netted his second score 18 seconds later, set up by Josh Fricks, before senior forward Brock Thompson completed the scoring flurry off assists from Ryan and Jacob Fricks with 1:09 to go.
|Senior defenseman Basil Reynolds, shown in last season's home series against the Rams, assisted Friday's final goal, by senior forward Andy Clarke.|
Roberts converted his second score off Ryan's third assist at the 12:49 mark of the third period before senior forward Andy Clarke capped the scoring by finishing a feed from senior defenseman Basil Reynolds.
For the contest, Liberty outshot Rhode Island, 39-19, and won 35 faceoffs to 22 for the Rams.
Sophomore goalie Tyler Myers gave up his first goal in three starts, but made 18 saves to post the win.
He will start Saturday's 7 p.m. rematch back at Boss Arena.