DII Flames rout Rowan in rematch to complete series sweep
January 18, 2020 | Lynchburg, Va.
Graduate defenseman Drew Crilly scored the first and last goals for Liberty University's ACHA Division II men's hockey team to help erase a 2-0 third-period deficit and pull out a 3-2 overtime win in Friday afternoon's series opener against Rowan University at the LaHaye Ice Center. Then, in Saturday afternoon's rematch, Flames got goals from seven different players to school the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey (MACH) rival Profs, completing the sweep with an 8-1 rout.
"Guys are coming back into the lineup who are a little more healthy," Flames Head Coach Ben Hughes said. "Having (freshman forward) Luke McFarlane and (sophomore forward) Darren Carter back is a huge bonus. We're continuing to refine guys' roles to where they are better suited."
Liberty (23-3-1) slipped from No. 1 to 2 in this past Thursday's Southeast Region rankings and Rowan (13-3) dropped from No. 3 to 4.
"That's the last ranked team that we play and we couldn't have done any better," Hughes said after the seven-goal margin of victory. "We got the most points available to us today."
If they can stay in the top two, the Flames will receive an autobid to the ACHA DII National Championships in Frisco, Texas, bypassing the Southeast Regional tournament.
|Graduate defenseman Drew Crilly (53), freshman forward Josh Wagner, and sophomore forward Charlie Wilkie (5) celebrate a goal against the Profs.|
Despite only outshooting Rowan by a 32-31 margin on Saturday, Liberty dominated the game, netting two goals in the first period — by Carter and McFarlane — and three in the second and third, including two by sophomore forward Timothy Doe.
"Being able to gain some confidence with the puck was huge for us and once we started making a couple plays, we realized we could do more."
Defensively, the Flames were anchored by sophomore J.D. George and senior Ryley Richardson, who shut down the Profs' top-line scorers. Sophomore goalies Adam Partridge (21 saves) and Dakota Cyhaniuk (30 saves) earned Friday's and Saturday's wins, respectively.
"With our goalies, they are both so good we could play either one of them at any point in time and they do a great job," Hughes said. "They both made huge saves this weekend."
Liberty is off next weekend before traveling to Maryland on Jan. 31-Feb. 1 and hosting Temple in its final regular-season series on Feb. 8-9 before traveling to the Feb. 14-16 MACH Tournament.