Men’s Hockey team creates turning point in the season

Catch him if you can — Three Oakland defensemen scramble to keep up with speedy Jonathan Chung. Chung was a crucial component of Liberty’s weekend sweep of Oakland.

The glass boards at Lahaye shook, fans screamed, and the scoreboard lit up Friday and Saturday nights, as the men’s hockey team swept the weekend series the Oakland University Golden Grizzlies.

The Flames were anxious to secure another win, following two misfires against Davenport last weekend. Forward Greg Jensen scored the first goal of the match off a Brent Boschman assist giving Liberty an early lead going into the second period.

With goals by forwards Colton Crossley and forward Adam Docksteader, Liberty held the 3-0 lead during the second period.  Oakland snagged two consecutive goals, but were quickly silenced by another Docksteader goal, making the score 4-2 going into the third period.

The third period was highlighted by Docksteader’s third goal of the game, giving him a hat trick.  Oakland answered with a goal, but was unable to take the lead.  Liberty goalie Blair Bennett made 34 saves in the 5-3 win. Teamwork was an important aspect displayed throughout the game.

“I think we’re doing pretty good working as a team and building as a team,” senior Adam Docksteader said.

Ten-year coach Kirk Handy felt his team played well against Oakland University.

“There were some good individual performances, but a great team effort,” Handy said.

In coach Handy’s opinion this game stood out more than others.

“I think it was a turning point for us this season,” Handy said. “The effort hadn’t been there in past games, but tonight it was and the guys were all working as a unit.”

Coach Handy isn’t the only one that has noticed the significant changes the team is making as a whole.

“We played as a team and we’re really coming together now,” forward Jonathan Chung said.

Oakland’s defense was prepared for the finale Saturday, shutting out the Flames in the first period and scoring two goals.

In the second period, Liberty answered Oakland’s two goals by posting two of their own.  Forward Greg Jensen scored his second goal of the weekend, and forward Stephen Moller scored his first goal of the season soon after, tying the game at 2-2.  However, Oakland answered back with a goal to put them on top  going into the third period.

Liberty struck first in the third with Moller’s second goal of the game.

Forward Brent Boschman gave Liberty the lead, but was quickly answered by the tying Oakland goal.  With the score tied 4-4, the game was sent into overtime.

After a scoreless overtime period, the game was to be decided by a shootout.  Thanks to goals by Docksteader and Joe Smith, Liberty won 5-4.

Liberty’s next game is at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 22 against University of Maryland Baltimore County.

YOUNG is a sports reporter

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