Men’s D1 Hockey responds, dousing the Colonials 9-2
Following a road trip that saw the Liberty men’s D1 ice hockey team lose three out of four to top programs Adrian College and Minot State, the No. 5 ranked Flames returned to the LaHaye Ice Center Oct. 28–29 for a two-game set against unranked foe Robert Morris.
Any plans Liberty had of bouncing back from the rocky road trip in game one were stifled, however, when RMU took down the Flames 4-1. The Colonials were led by goalie Parker Rutherford, who made an absurd 62 saves to earn the upset victory over the Flames.
“Sometimes, you need a setback like this to explode forward,” Flames Head Coach Kirk Handy said following
The Flames amplified that statement to the max in game two, blowing out the Colonials in a dominant 9-2 win.
Liberty went with senior Cedric LeSieur in-goal, and he responded by stopping 22 of 24 shots to earn the victory.
Sophomore center Jacob Kalandyk got the party started less than four minutes into the first period, flicking his wrists for a rocket that reached the back of the net to give Liberty an early 1-0 lead.
The lead was short lived, however, when RMU forward Roman Kraemer found the back of the net just five minutes later to knot things up at one.
This tie would be as close as the Colonials would come to holding the lead, as senior forward Truett Olson delivered a gorgeous slapshot four minutes later to put the Flames up 2-1, a lead they would not relinquish.
The Flames went into the first intermission with a 2-1 lead, and they continued to pile on in the second period, erasing any momentum the Colonials might have had from the night before.
Goals from forward Josh Fricks, defenseman Colin Baird and forward Matt Bartel highlighted the dominant second period, giving the Flames a 5-1 lead at the second intermission as RMU continued to flub on offense.
The third period proved to be much of the same for RMU, failing to score during a 5-on-3 advantage just moments before junior forward Jason Foltz netted the rebound of a shot from Fricks to stretch Liberty’s lead to 6-1, his first of two goals on the night.
Liberty outscored RMU 4-1 in the final period, as the Flames saw a whopping eight different players score goals on the night in a true top-to-bottom team effort.
The Flames put their dominance on display in all facets, winning the faceoff battle and outshooting the Colonials 71-24. The win improves their record to 6-4 for the season and snaps a five-game stretch in which they went just 1-4.
Despite the recent skid, Foltz believes the momentum from this victory will carry on for the rest of the season.
“This was a really good weekend for our line,” Foltz told reporters following the win. “We struggled a little bit early in the season, so I think we’re going to be good for the rest of the year.”
The Flames next action comes Nov. 4–5, when they welcome in the No. 6 ranked Stony Brook Seawolves in a two-game set at the LaHaye Ice Center.
McCusker is the asst. sports editor for the Liberty Champion. Follow him on Twitter