Lady Flames round out 3-0 road trip by blanking Bearcats, 6-0
February 20, 2021 | O'Fallon, Ill.
Hours after shocking the Women's Midwest College Hockey (WMCH) world with a lopsided triumph at No. 1 Lindenwood University, Liberty University's second-ranked ACHA Division I women's hockey team scored one goal in the first period, two in the second, and three in the third in a 6-0 victory over fellow WMCH member McKendree University, Saturday afternoon at the Metro Rec Plex in O'Fallon, Ill.
"(Friday night) was one of those games where we played great, and the girls showed that kind of offensive firepower that hasn't been there yet this season," Lady Flames fourth-year Head Coach Chris Lowes said. "We executed well and put a lot of shots on net and are starting to show midseason form."
Freshman forward Brityn Fussy started the scoring with 11:33 remaining in the first period, when Liberty outshot McKendree (1-3) by a 17-3 margin.
Senior forward Deena Birney tipped in senior forward Shannon Fehr's shot from the top of the right circle through traffic in the slot past Bearcats goalie Naomi Leasck (57 saves) at the 17:36 mark of the second, doubling the Lady Flames' advantage to 2-0.
Then, with 10:33 to go in the second, Fussy skated down the left wing before cutting across the crease and scoring off a putback of her own blocked shot in front, extending Liberty's lead to 3-0.
Senior forward Danica Polson netted two goals in the third period, the last shorthanded after a score by Fehr, as the Lady Flames (8-1, 4-1 ACHA) put an exclamation mark on their second straight decisive road win and three-game weekend sweep.
"We were able to get a couple power play goals and a shorthanded goal today, our second of the weekend, after we went 0-for-6 on the power play (Friday night), which was a little bit concerning," Lowes said. "We had a lot of offensive zone time and that was encouraging, and we were a little more disciplined today and stayed out of the penalty box, which was a positive."
The Lady Flames outshot the Bearcats, 63-20, for the contest and freshman goalie Kylie Mebs made 20 saves to post her second shutout of the weekend. On Friday, fellow Liberty freshman goalie Amanda Storey, backed up by the defensemen around her, limited the Lady Lions to one goal.
"Our defensive zone is always a top priority, and Storey played incredibly (Friday night)," Lowes said. "We spent a lot of time on the penalty kill, and she stood tall as we killed a lot of five-on-three opportunities."
While there were times in Saturday's game where he could tell that it was the Lady Flames' third game in three days, he was pleased with their overall performance level throughout the weekend.
"All in all, it was a very successful first road trip," Lowes said. "As much as getting the wins, it was a good weekend for our team to get on a bus together. We're still just finding our identity as a team, and that is a big part of our growth in a shortened season. We try to get better all the time and we seem to be trending the right direction as we get ready for Adrian in two weeks."
In a rematch of the 2018 ACHA National Championship final, Liberty will travel to play the Bulldogs on March 6-7, in a series that was postponed by COVID-19 protocols last month. The two-time defending national champion Lady Flames will then entertain Adrian the following weekend, March 12-13, at the LaHaye Ice Center in their regular-season home series finale.