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    November 16, 2021 Lynchburg, Va. RSS |

    After salvaging a split in this past weekend’s series against East Carolina University at the LaHaye Ice Center, Liberty University’s ACHA Division III men’s hockey team will travel to play its most anticipated matchups of the season to date this weekend.

    Junior forward Kenny Fogarty skates the puck along the boards in the season opener at the LaHaye Ice Center.

    The Flames (5-4-1) will challenge Coastal Carolina on Friday at 10 p.m. and Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at the Wilmington (N.C.) Ice House in a rematch of last season’s ACCHL Championship final won by the Chanticleers, 3-2 in overtime. That was the third time that season that Liberty lost to Coastal in OT, after sweeping two of its three home series against the Chanticleers.

    “It is a big rivalry weekend, and one the boys are fired up for,” Flames Head Coach Josh Graham said.

    A day after allowing ECU to score three power-play goals in the third period to erase a two-goal deficit in a 5-4 late Saturday night setback, Liberty dominated Sunday afternoon’s rematch against the Pirates, winning 4-1.

    Senior forward Will Fortugno, who returned from a shoulder injury over the weekend, started the scoring on Sunday by receiving a pass out of the left corner from junior Kenny Fogarty and burying his shot under the crossbar.

    The Flames and Pirates traded second-period scores, with junior center Johnny Kettelle — who netted two goals in the series opener — lifting Liberty to a 2-0 lead by taking a long cross-ice outlet pass from freshman defenseman Benjamin Wines and lifting a wrist shot from the left circle into the top right corner of the cage.

    Early in the third period, graduate forward Jerrell Campbell skated in and ripped a shot over the Pirates’ goalie’s glove to extend the lead to 3-1 before sophomore forward Mike Williams capped the scoring with a beautiful backhanded finish off assists from freshman center Ethan Dunn and sophomore forward William Smiley on a breakaway.

    For the game, the Flames outshot ECU, 64-18. Regarding special teams, the two contests were like night and day as Liberty was only whistled for one penalty on Sunday while the Pirates were called for eight.

    “We were much more disciplined and killed off the only penalty we had,” Graham said. “On Saturday, we gave up four penalties in the third period and they scored on three of them.”

    After ECU rallied from 3-1 down to seize a 4-3 lead in the opener, Liberty retied it at 4-4 on freshman forward Eric Abbate’s putback past ECU goalie Graham Emmett with 1:51 remaining in regulation. But the Pirates stole the victory with 39 seconds to go, again capitalizing on a power play.

    Graduate goalie Clayton Pierce took the loss on Saturday before sophomore Kyle Wesbury made saves of two back-door opportunities on ECU’s lone power play to help secure the win on Sunday.

    By Ted Allen/Staff Writer; Videos by Patrick Strawn/Club Sports Director of Video & Media