DII Flames complete ‘Battle of Blue Ridge’ sweep of Hokies
Freshman center Johnny Kettelle's hat trick on Saturday night at the LaHaye Ice Center helped Liberty University's ACHA Division I men's hockey team hold off Virginia Tech, 7-5, to complete a home-and-away weekend sweep of the Hokies.
The Flames (12-3-2) clinched the best-of-three "Battle of the Blue Ridge" series by winning Friday night's game hosted by Virginia Tech at the Lancerlot Sports Complex in Vinton, Va., 8-2. Liberty had defeated the Hokies, 9-1 at LaHaye, in the teams' first meeting on Oct. 14.
Midway through the second period, Bryce Harrison stretched the Flames' edge to 3-1 with his first goal at Liberty, finishing feeds from fellow sophomore defenseman Kyle Martin and junior defenseman Ryley Richardson. After Virginia Tech's Brendan Hoey answered five minutes later, Liberty extended its lead to 6-2 with three scores in the final four minutes. Freshman defenseman Charlie Wilkie netted the first, set up by freshman forward Darren Carter, before freshmen right wing Joseph Nash and defenseman Adam Partridge scored, both off assists from senior defenseman Jackson Roy.
Crilly and Roy tacked on third-period goals for the final scores and freshman goalie Dakota Cyhaniuk made 20 saves in the win as the Flames outshot the Hokies, 43-22.
In Saturday's rematch at Liberty, Kettelle netted his first goal as a Flame off an assist from junior defenseman Brandon Drumheller just over two minutes after the opening faceoff before freshman left wing Cullen Briggs finished a feed from Drumheller. Senior forward Eric Masters pushed the Flames' advantage to 3-0 off assists from Nash and Crilly.
Virginia Tech pulled within 3-2 on back-to-back goals by Hoey and David Dachille before Masters responded with his second score, assisted by Martin with 2:24 left in the first period.
Less than two minutes into the second period, Kettelle netted his second goal off a backdoor assist from Crilly before the Hokies rallied to trim the deficit to 5-4 with two goals over a three-minute span. Kettelle completed his hat trick off an assist from senior wing Matthew Perri before Crilly padded Liberty's lead to 7-4, converting a pass from Doe to cap the Flames' scoring.
Virginia Tech netted the only goal in a third period plagued by 12 penalties.
Liberty outshot Virginia Tech, 46-30, and sophomore goalie Adam Partridge made 25 saves to raise his record to 10-2-1.
The Flames ended their fall schedule by winning 10 of their final 11 games. They will open the spring semester by hosting a Jan. 18-20 showcase against Maryland, Marist, and Cincinnati.