Flames set for Seawolves in early-season ESCHL showdown
October 31, 2019 | Lynchburg, Va.
Following a 9-0 start, its best in 10 seasons, Liberty University's ACHA Division I men's hockey team will look to regain some of the momentum it had before being swept by top-ranked Adrian last weekend in Michigan when it returns to the LaHaye Ice Center for a key ESCHL series and Top-10 matchup against Stony Brook this weekend.
"We are looking forward to getting back on the home ice," Flames Head Coach Kirk Handy said. "(The Seawolves are) a great team and they always play us well. We've had great battles over the years and it's going to be a good series."
Scouting Preview for Games 12-13: No. 9 Stony Brook (7-1, 3-1 ESCHL) at No. 6 Liberty (9-2, 4-0 ESCHL) Friday (7 p.m.) and Saturday (7 p.m.) at the LaHaye Ice Center. Both games will be webcast live by the Liberty Flames Sports Network (LFSN) and carried by ESPN+.
All-Time Series: Liberty leads the series with Stony Brook, 27-16-3.
|Senior forward Andy Clarke battles a Stony Brook player along the Flames' bench at the LaHaye Ice Center.|
Liberty Scouting Report: The last time the Flames met Stony Brook, in a spring semester-opening series Jan. 19-20 on Long Island, N.Y., they had a seven-game win streak to end the fall semester snapped by the Seawolves. After letting a 3-0 lead slip away and falling in a shootout, 4-3, in the opener, Liberty lost the rematch, 4-1.
"For us, we are not going to worry about what happened last year, but to work to get back on the winning track," Handy said. "We did a lot of things right in the second game against Adrian, but we are coming off two losses there and we want to get better. We need to keep making that push and want to make sure we're ready to go this weekend."
Liberty slipped two spots to No. 6 in this week's ACHA Division I rankings, the season's first computerized poll, while the Seawolves moved up four rungs to No. 9.
The Flames will be without junior forward and head captain Devin Pierce, graduate forward Zechariah Roberts, and senior defenseman Garrett Nelson (their third-leading scorer with four goals and 12 assists) this weekend, but Handy expects their replacements to rise to the occasion.
"We've had nice depth on our bench this year and we believe in all the players in that room," he said.
Liberty has six players with at least a dozen points, led by sophomore forward Josh Fricks (9G, 13A) and senior forward Quinn Ryan (6G, 14A). Junior forward Jordan Bochinski (6G, 9A) and senior forward Brock Thompson (8G, 4A) rank fourth and fifth, respectively, followed by sophomore Arturas Laukaitis (4G, 8A).
Between the pipes, the Flames have platooned first-year goalies Tyler Myers (5-1, 1.83 goals-against average, 91.9 save percentage, two shutouts) and Cédric Le Sieur (4-1, 1.60 GAA, 93.2 SP) with similar results.
Stony Brook Scouting Report: After winning the opener against ESCHL rival Rhode Island in overtime, the Seawolves suffered their first loss of the season in the rematch with the Rams, squandering a 2-0 lead in a 3-2 setback on their home ice at The Rinx.
Stony Brook has three different players with two game-winning goals this season, including leading scorer Dustin Rinaldo (7G, 9A), who has a team-high three power-play scores. Joseph Slevin shares the team lead with nine assists to go with three goals, followed by fellow forwards Charles Peck (4G, 6A) and Michael Conlin (5G, 4A) and defenseman Brendan Pepe (4G, 5A).
In goal, Richard Shipman (5-0, 2.81 GAA, 91.7 SP) has logged the most minutes with the most success.
Coaches: Handy is in his 20th season as Liberty's head coach and has compiled an overall record of 441-182-29. Chris Garofalo, who is in his 10th season as the Seawolves' head coach and 23rd year as the team's general manager, is 211-79-22 at the helm.