DIII Flames sweep visiting Volunteers, ignited by Desmarais’ hat trick
Liberty University’s Division III men’s hockey team swept its home-opening series against the University of Tennessee at the LaHaye Ice Center, winning Saturday’s opener, 5-4 in overtime, and Sunday’s rematch, 5-2, to improve to 3-2 on the season.
Junior left wing Carson Desmarais netted a natural hat trick in the first game and started the scoring in the second to spark the Flames’ attack against the Volunteers (0-2). His third consecutive goal and second straight assisted by senior center and head captain Jaime Ross tied the contest at 4-4 with 12:48 remaining in the third period, forcing an extra five-minute period. Sophomore left wing Christian Garofalo scored the game-winner at the 3:00 mark in overtime.
Desmarais broke the scoring ice in Sunday’s rematch, finishing feeds from senior right wing Kenny Fogarty and Ross at the 6:31 mark. Tennessee tied it at 1-1 with 11 seconds left in the first period before freshman forward William Kapic put the Flames back on top, 2-1, assisted by sophomore center Ethan Dunn and sophomore defenseman Jeb Boring. After the Volunteers’ Connor Frazer tied it at 2-2 with an unassisted shorthanded goal, Dunn scored the game-winner on a power play with 40 seconds remaining in the second period, assisted by senior center Christian Kline and Ross.
Kline gave the Flames some insurance with 6:56 to play in the third, putting away passes from Garofalo and sophomore forward Luke Bessire for a 4-2 advantage. Junior forward Mike Williams, who started the scoring with 11:30 left in the first period of the first game, capped it in the final 20 seconds of the rematch with an unassisted empty-netter.
The Flames were outshot by Tennessee in the opener, 54-48, before outshooting the Volunteers in the second game, 40-24. Junior Dominik Jordan played all 122 minutes in goal for Liberty, totaling 74 saves to improve to 3-2.
On its season-opening road trip to the Neumann (Pa.) University Showcase, the Flames lost their first two games to Delaware, 5-2, and Kutztown (Pa.), 2-1, before routing Salisbury (Md.), 11-0.
Next up, the Flames will travel to Newport News, Va., to take on Christopher Newport University on Oct. 21 at 10:15 p.m. and Oct. 22 at 4 p.m.
Video by Patrick Strawn/Club Sports Director of Video & Media