Hegele emerges as Liberty's all-time leading ACHA DII scorer
November 16, 2019 | Lynchburg, Va.
Brittany Hegele, a junior forward from Nashville who became the first Liberty University Division II women's hockey player to eclipse 100 points in scoring this month, plays each shift with a sense of urgency.
"I'm always giving it 100 percent, playing like it's my last game every time, because that's how you're going to make yourself a better player and that's how you're going to build your team," said Hegele, who has totaled 108 points with 63 goals and 45 assists, including 30 goals and 28 assists in a breakout freshman season. "It's nice to lead an example of playing really aggressively and competitively."
That mentality has lifted Liberty to the No. 1 spot in the first Southeast Region rankings, strengthening its position for a second bid in three seasons to the ACHA DI National Championships in late March near Dallas.
Hegele netted one goal, assisted by junior defenseman Sarah LaPorte and junior forward Alexis Early, and distributed two assists to help lift the Lady Flames to a 5-2 victory over Penn State's ACHA Division I team on Saturday afternoon at the LaHaye Ice Center. It was Liberty's first-ever win against an ACHA DI program and raised its record to 10-0.
"We haven't played any DI teams, so this was a good test for us," Hegele said. "We played confident and played happy and we were having fun. It's going to build up our confidence going into next semester. This is our first time being ranked No. 1 and we want to keep on building on it."
After starting the season playing on the same line with sophomore forwards Paige Arnosti and Hope Stengler, Hegele recently switched to play with Early and freshman Morgan Whitehorne.
"Every individual on this team is capable of putting up points and playing to their highest skill level," Hegele said. "Even our defense contributes as much as the offensive players do. That's nice to have our defense step in and have people that we can trust on the back end to help us when we're struggling offensively."
She said sophomore goalie Madeleine Snook (8-0, 0.92 goals-against average, 96.1 save percentage, two shutouts), who dropped down from the DI team this season, has played a key role in the team's success.
"Maddie stands on her head game-in and game-out for us and she's the reason why we are undefeated," Hegele said. "She keeps us in it, making incredible saves, left and right. It's really nice to have her as a brick wall back there."
She said second-year Head Coach Rena Leone has inspired the Lady Flames to greatness.
"She cares so much about this team and puts everything into this team for us," Hegele said. "If it wasn't for her being our coach, we wouldn't be the team that we are. It's incredible, the job that she does. We really appreciate her and she definitely helps the mood of the team."
|Junior forward Brittany Hegele chases a Navy player.|
Hegele said Leone has helped foster a positive atmosphere on and off the ice.
"We feel like a family out there, all the time," she said. "Everyone's just out there having fun with one another, always encouraging and helping each other out to make each other a better player and person on and off the ice."