Flames’ outscore rival Blue Hens 16-3 in two-games series sweep

The Liberty Flames hockey teamtoppled its former ECHL rival, the Delaware University Blue Hens, this weekend, taking both of its two matchups at home at the LaHaye Ice Center. 

The first matchup was on Friday, Nov. 11 where the Flames won 6-3 off the goals scored by forward Sam Feamster, forward Josh Fricks (2), forward Truett Olson, forward Matt Bartel and forward Jacob Kalandyk. The Flames left the arena somewhat pleased with their performance, but they knew they were capable of more.

“I wasn’t happy with the third period, which wasn’t to our satisfaction,” Head Coach Kirk Handy said. “We have to be better. That’s going to be a big focus of ours (in Saturday night’s rematch). We have to play 60 minutes. We played 40 minutes very well tonight. I liked what we were doing on the offensive end, putting pucks on net.”

It was clear the Flames were looking to come into the second game and dominate all three periods. Spoiler alert: they were able to do just that and more. 

Goaltender Cedric LeSieur started both games for the Flames on this homestand. LeSieur and his fellow goaltender Hunter Virostek have formed a bit of a dynamic duo in between the pipes for the Flames, both getting substantial playing time. 

 “I trust all our goaltenders,” Handy said. “They all are parts of our team. Cedric has waited to play, and it’s great to get him starts in two games in a row. He responded well. He battles every night he is in there.”

LeSieur did not disappoint in this matchup, pitching the Flames first shutout of the season against the Blue Hens. 

A little before midway into the first period, Liberty was able to kill off a Delaware power play. The effort instantly turned that momentum into offense, netting the first goal of the matchup, punched in by Olson. 

After the first goal was scored, the flood gates were opened, and Liberty’s offensive onslaught ensued, scoring again before the first period ended. 

Liberty went on the power play right as the second period got underway and quickly capitalized on a Delaware error scoring. 

This would begin to become a theme for the Flames, as they scored five more goals on the power play throughout the evening. The Flames dominated the special teams against Delaware, also being perfect on the penalty kill. Special teams have been a strength of this Flames team all season. 

“It’s huge for us, the penalty kill was unbelievable. We made some adjustments on the power play, and scoring five on the power play is great,” Handy said when asked about how important it is to his team’s success to dominate the special teams battle.

Liberty dominated the second period, netting four goals in total — two from forward Jason Foltz, one from Bartel and one from defenseman Nate Albers. The Flames scored six more goals in the third period and remained unscored on, securing the shutout for Cedric LeSieur.

Freshman forward Lazarus Kaebel scored the first two goals of the period followed by a deflection goal scored by forward Daniel Schwenke. Kalandyk would be the one to push the Flames score line into the double digits as he found their 10th goal in the waning stages of the third period. As the final buzzer fired, Liberty secured both a commanding 10-0 victory and a series sweep.

The Flames will now venture to the desert, as they prepare to face University of Alaska-Anchorage at the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, before taking on UNLV in a two-game series.   

Young is a sports reporter for the Liberty Champion

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