DII Flames complete fall semester play by sweeping visiting Broncs
Liberty University’s ACHA Division II men’s hockey team completed its fall semester schedule with an impressive 5-1, 5-2 sweep of Rider University on Friday night and Saturday afternoon at the LaHaye Ice Center (LIC).
The Flames (15-2) overcame a 1-0 deficit after the first period in the opener by scoring five unanswered goals against the Broncs (14-3-1) over the final 30 minutes.
Junior defenseman Maxx Mitchell netted the equalizer at the 9:34 mark of the second period, putting away assists from freshman forward Cooper Neal and sophomore forward and leading scorer Trevor Granzow (8 goals, 23 assists). Just over five minutes later, Granzow scored what held up as the game-winner, finishing feeds from senior forward Peyton Nash and graduate forward Josh Malin. Sophomore forward Roman Lamoureux expanded Liberty’s lead to 3-1 just 26 seconds before the first intermission by converting an assist from freshman forward Maksim Bure.
Then in the third period, freshman defenseman Jared Matley stretched the Flames’ advantage to 4-1 on a goal set up by senior forwards Justin Barstead and Darren Carter at the 11:14 mark before junior forward Josh Wagner capped the scoring by finishing feeds from Barstead and Matley with 1:02 to go.
Liberty outshot Rider by a 35-30 margin and freshman goalie Lane Skon made 29 saves, shutting out the Broncs over the final 45 minutes of play.
On Saturday, the Flames opened a 4-0 lead after the first period of Game 2, when they capitalized on three of their four power-play opportunities, including their first two just three seconds apart to start the scoring midway through the first period. Lamoureux and Wagner scored their team-leading seventh and fourth power-play goals of the season, respectively, off assists from Granzow on the first and Malin and Mitchell on the second, for a 2-0 lead with 9:26 left in the period.
Sophomore defenseman Micah Hauke finished a feed from Matley with 8:53 to go before Carter gave the Flames a commanding 4-0 edge off an assist from senior forward Tim Doe at the 2:33 mark.
Rider trimmed the gap to 4-2 with the only goal of the second period, Dominick Cerceo’s 14th of the season, and first of the third — fellow forward Cole Schneider’s ninth of the year and fifth with a man advantage — before Nash sealed the series sweep with 1:38 remaining in regulation on a power-play goal assisted by Doe and Granzow.
Liberty outshot Rider, 38-26, and junior goalie Stephen Sanders made 24 saves to improve to 3-0.
The Flames, ranked second in the Southeast Region, will return to action Jan. 7-8 at the LIC when they entertain top-ranked North Carolina State before hosting fifth-ranked Penn State on Jan. 14-15.
By Ted Allen/Staff Writer; Videos by Patrick Strawn/Club Sports Director of Video & Media