DIII Flames start 2022 with impressive home sweep of ACCHL rival Panthers
Liberty University’s ACHA Division III men’s hockey team opened 2022 by solidifying its lead in the ACCHL standings with an 8-2, 10-0 sweep of High Point University on Saturday and Sunday afternoons at the LaHaye Ice Center.
The Flames (9-5-2), who will host the ACCHL Championships from Feb. 25-27, dominated the fourth-place conference rival Panthers (5-9-1), outshooting them by a 42-21 margin in the opener and 56-21 in Game 2, when Clayton Pierce posted Liberty’s second shutout of the season.
In the first game, the Flames scored four goals on 22 shots in the first period, the first two by graduate forward and head captain Jerrell Campbell off assists from Luke Bessire, who also helped set up a third goal by fellow freshman forward Eric Abbate.
Junior center Johnny Kettelle pushed Liberty’s lead to 4-0 at the 1:00 mark off assists from junior forward Kenneth Fogarty (his 18th on the season) and freshman defenseman Jake Nole before High Point’s Robert Cazzola scored unassisted 27 seconds later to end the shutout for Flames sophomore goalie Kyle Wesbury.
Just over a minute into the second period, freshman forward Carson Desmarais extended Liberty’s lead to 5-1 unassisted, before junior center Jaime Ross scored unassisted two minutes into the third for a 6-1 advantage. Kettelle finished a feed from freshman defenseman Aaron Spuhler 35 seconds later and sophomore forward William Smiley capped the scoring for the Flames with a shorthanded unassisted goal less than two minutes later.
In Sunday’s rematch, Desmarais, Ross, and Campbell each scored twice and Abbate, Will Fortugno, Randy Plaisance, and Ethan Dunn netted single scores in a game plagued by 25 penalties. Campbell’s second score and Dunn’s third-period finish came shorthanded after Ross’ first and Desmarais’ second goals came on the power play.
Fogarty added his 19th assist and Ross set up three goals, including the last two, to bring his season assist total to 18.
The Flames travel to Morgantown, W.Va., on Feb. 11 to take on West Virginia before meeting Penn State (Pa.) Harrisburg on Feb. 12.
Videos by Patrick Strawn/Club Sports Director of Video & Media