DII Flames, ranked No. 2 in Southeast, sweep No. 7 Delaware at home, gear up for trip to No. 3 FGCU
Liberty University’s ACHA Division II men’s hockey team, ranked No. 2 in the Southeast Region, dominated No. 7-ranked Delaware in a series between Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey (MACH) rivals played at the LaHaye Ice Center (LIC), with the Flames (22-4-1) winning Friday’s opener, 4-1, and Saturday’s rematch 7-2.
Before Saturday’s game, the Flames honored senior defenseman and head captain Maxx Mitchell, senior goalie Dakota Cyhaniuk, graduate forward Josh Malin, and senior alternate captains Darren Carter and Tim Doe, and fellow forwards Peyton Nash, Charlie Wilkie, and Justin Barstead, who all played for the final time at the LIC.
The Blue Hens (13-10) scored first in Game 1, midway through the first period, before freshman forward Josh Harrell tied it up exactly four minutes later off assists from Nash and freshman defenseman Jared Matley.
It was all Flames in the second period as Barstead netted the game-winner by finishing feeds from Mitchell and sophomore forward Trevor Granzow at the 8:24 mark before Matley put away passes from Nash and Mitchell with 4:51 left and Harrell capped the scoring with a power-play goal off assists from freshman defenseman Rece Poulin and Doe in the final 31 seconds.
Liberty outshot Delaware, 33-25, and held the Blue Hens scoreless on six power-play opportunities with junior goalie Stephen Sanders making 24 saves.
Harrell netted two goals and distributed two assists in Saturday’s rematch, finishing feeds from Poulin and Doe to start the scoring shorthanded just 2:10 after the opening faceoff. Matley extended Liberty’s lead to 2-0 less than three minutes later by scoring off assists from Nash and Harrell before Doe made it 3-1 with his 15th goal of the season set up by Nash and Carter.
Wilkie netted the lone goal of the second period, another shorthanded score assisted by Doe, before Nash converted his 13th of the season off a pass from Granzow with 6:47 left in the third. Harrell scored his 13th off an assist from Matley before Carter capped the scoring with 1:39 to play, set up by Harrell and Barstead.
Liberty was outshot by Delaware, 35-34, but held the Blue Hens without a goal on five power-play chances as Cyhaniuk made 33 saves.
The Flames will be back in action this weekend when they travel to Florida Gulf Coast University (22-4), ranked No. 3 in the Southeast Region, for games on Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m.
Videos by Patrick Strawn/Club Sports Director of Video & Media