Liberty University Women’s D1 hockey team beat Gaiters 5-2

 The Liberty University Women’s Division I hockey team capped off a successful final weekend in January with a 5-2 victory over the Division II Bishops Gaiters Sunday morning at the LaHaye Ice Center. 

At the beginning of the game, the Flames’ passing and offensive flow were sporadic and inconsistent. The Gaiters, who were playing their fifth game in three days, dominated the Flames with suffocating defensive pressure and an aggressive forecheck. A pair of goals by defensemen Arianne Charette and Miranda Snable gave the Gaiters a 2-1 lead after the first period. 

Flames’ Head Coach Chris Lowes said the subpar performance by the Flames was indicative of their preparation for the game and that he and his coaching staff were not surprised by the result of the first period. 

“I thought we just lacked a bit of energy, and I thought we had a pretty rough warm up as a team,” Lowes said. “We’ve got to prepare better and just mentally reset every game.” 

After the start of the second period, the Flames jumped out to tie the game at 2-2 with 13:49 left in the period on a wrister by sophomore Danica Polson. Shortly before the second period ended, the Flames went on the power play thanks to an interference call on Gaiters forward Rachelle Perras. With 30 seconds remaining before the second intermission, forward Vanessa 

D e m e r chant scored for the Flames to grant a 3-2 lead they would not relinquish. 

During the third period, the Flames took advantage of an exhausted Gaiters team, scoring two more goals to end with a 5-2 victory. 

Lowes said the puck possession was the key to the Flames scoring four unanswered goals in the last two periods. 

“Our time of possession was good and was indicative of what we wanted,” Lowes said. 

The best goal was saved for last, with Lauren Mcdonald doing the honors for the Flames. With the Gaiters on the power play with 10:45 left in the game, McDonald forced a turnover at the blue line. Using her speed, she blazed down the ice and beat Bishops net minder Maude Russell to score a shorthanded goal and close the scoring for the game. 

Even though the Flames had to battle back from an early deficit, Lowes said it was a good test for Liberty as the playoffs loom. 

“On both sides, both teams were battling really hard and that’s good for us,” Lowes said. “It’s getting prepped for those top teams and playoffs.” 

Liberty will finish its regular season with two games against one of those top teams. The Flames have two weeks off before hosting top-ranked Adrian College Feb. 15 and 16. Adrian and Liberty have not competed against each other since last semester, and the Flames are looking forward to the challenge. 

“I think our girls will be excited for it, especially when it’s our only loss of the season,” Lowes said. “Our girls will be ready to avenge it hopefully.” 

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