DII Flames stave off Lions’ comeback bid to finish 2-1 at Lindenwood Showcase
Liberty University’s ACHA Division II men’s hockey team won two of three games at this past weekend’s Lindenwood Showcase at the Centene Community Ice Center, practice facility of the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, in Maryland Heights, Mo. The Flames, ranked No. 2 in the Southeast Region, split its two games against No. 1 ranked regional foes, losing to the University of Mary from the West, 4-1 on Friday, before defeating the host Lions from the Central, 5-3, on Sunday afternoon.
“It was quite a game,” Liberty Head Coach Ben Hughes said. “We were actually up, 4-0, but they came back and made a really good effort to tie it up.”
Flames freshman goalie Lane Skon made 40 saves to help tame the Lions, who rallied to within 4-3 with one goal halfway through the second period and two more at the 12- and 8-minute marks of the third.
Liberty netted three goals in the first period before adding a fourth four minutes into second period and an empty-netter flipped up out of the defensive zone by senior forward Tim Doe with 17 seconds remaining in regulation.
“For 8 minutes, they took the majority of the shots, trying to tie it up,” Hughes said. “Our defensemen did a great job of blocking shots and rallying together. Even the forwards were really committed to blocking shots, which was great to see, and our goalie was coming up big.”
Sunday’s game was played in the center’s outdoor arena, covered by an overhanging roof.
“It was a really cool experience for the guys,” Hughes said. “We definitely had to battle the elements as it was hard to see with the sun going down there and hard to move the puck because the ice was still wet at the beginning of each period with it being between 55-60 degrees, which wasn’t cold enough to make it super hard.”
Maksim Bure scored his first goal at around the 14-minute mark of the first period off assists from fellow freshman forward Cooper Neal and sophomore forward Roman Lamoureux. Sophomore forward Trevor Granzow scored the second goal unassisted before Neal netted the third off assists from Bure and Lamoreux.
Four minutes into the second period, freshman forward Jared Matley, who moved up from defenseman for the weekend, scored a breakaway goal assisted by senior right wing Darren Carter and junior center Josh Wagner.
“It was a great team win today,” Hughes said. “Lindenwood’s such a strong team every year so to come out on top playing against a team like that is great for our team to build off of that.”
After opening the tournament with a loss to Mary, the Flames are now 2-2 against the reigning ACHA DII national champion Marauders this season.
Liberty scored first with just two seconds remaining in the first period when Doe made a pass to Lamoureux behind the net where he passed it out front to Neal for a one-timed finish.
But the Flames allowed Mary to score three goals in a span of two minutes in the second before adding a fourth on a breakaway later in the period.
In Saturday’s 5-0 victory over Davenport, junior goalie Stephen Sanders earned the shutout and the Flames got single scores from graduate forward Josh Malin, Doe, Granzow, Wagner on a power play, and Lamoureux unassisted.
The Flames (13-2) will travel to Philadelphia to challenge Drexel on Dec. 3-4 before closing out the fall semester by battling Mid-Atlantic College Hockey (MACH) rival Rider (N.J.) University (12-1-1) on Dec. 10-11 at the LaHaye Ice Center.
By Ted Allen/Staff Writer