Men’s hockey building big reputation

The Liberty men’s hockey team played through fatigue after playing a midnight game Saturday morning before their second game of the weekend Saturday at 7 p.m. against Indiana University of Pennsylvania. 

Liberty played the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and came out on top both times. Liberty would score a combined 12 goals, scoring six in both games. 

Saturday night, the Flames shut out the Crimson Hawks 6-0. A score that made Head Coach Kirk Handy proud of his team.

“I liked the way we played tonight better (than last night),” Handy said. “I felt that we were more consistent throughout the game.” 

The Flames would get off to a quick start scoring three of their goals in the first period with goals from senior Zak Hayes, sophomore Devin Pierce and junior Jacob Fricks. 

“My linemates make it easy for me to play,” Fricks said. “I don’t really have to do much out there. I am there for them and they are there for me.”

The second period for the Flames would start out hot as junior Quinn Ryan would score nine seconds into the period. The second goal in the period came with .8 seconds left in the period scored by senior Matt

“We have a much tougher schedule this year, hopefully we can stay in the top ten spots moving forward into nationals.” Fricks said, “We just have to keep doing what we did tonight and last night. We have keep doing that playing better and better every game.”

The second period would also bring some more aggressive play from both sides resulting in a fight that would cause two IUP players to be ejected and junior Brock Thompson on the Flames to receive a 10-minute misconduct penalty as well as a two-minute penalty for roughing.

“I feel like it is always the case with some of these teams,” Fricks said. “We have a good rivalry with IUP. Everyone wants to get the crowd going, we just have to play it safe obviously and stay out of the box because they can capitalize on that.”

Forward Andy Clarke is starting his junior year. (Photo by Ryan Klinker)

There would be one lone goal scored in the third period coming from junior Jordan Bochinski. 

“I think this game gives us a lot of confidence that we can play for the full 60 minutes,” Handy said. “I liked our forecheck and I liked our back pressure tonight.” 

Liberty finished the game with 60 shots on goal. IUP finished with 20. The Crimson Hawks had 13 shots in the first period, zero in the second and seven in the third.

“I think that we competed tonight – I liked our competitiveness level.” Handy said, “Like I said earlier, you have to be relentless on the forecheck and you have to have effective back pressure I thought our guys had that tonight.”

After a weekend with a late-night game and another game the next day, it is business as usual for the Flames to prepare for their next game. 

“We just have to do the same thing, nothing changes for us,” Fricks said. “We still have got to be hard on the puck, bury every chance we get, and we had a lot of shots this week and that is just something that we will have to keep doing throughout the year.”

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