DIII Flames sweep visiting Vulcans in 2021-22 opening series
Liberty University’s ACHA Division III men’s hockey team opened its season with a resounding sweep of the University of California-Penn, Friday night at Saturday morning at the LaHaye Ice Center.
After winning the opener, 5-3, the Flames (2-0) exploded for five goals in the third period of Saturday’s rematch, when they rallied from a 4-3 deficit to post a dramatic 7-4 triumph. Liberty converted four of its nine power-play opportunities and its penalty kill shut Cal-Penn out on all four of its chances. The Flames outshot the Vulcans (0-2) by a 34-32 margin and graduate goalie Clayton Pierce made 28 saves to preserve the victory.
Liberty junior center and alternate captain Christian Kline netted a hat trick, freshman right wing Eric Abbate tallied two goals, and senior defenseman Jordan Chamberlain and junior center and head captain Jaime Ross both added single scores. Kline’s first and second goals came with 39 seconds left in the first period and 52 seconds into the third, ending a scoreless drought that spanned the entire second stanza. He completed his hat trick with 1:17 left before Ross capped the scoring with another empty-netter with 51 seconds to go.
In Friday night’s first game, the Flames netted two power-play goals and also held Cal-Penn scoreless with the man advantage four times. After the Vulcans started the scoring just 1:13 after the opening faceoff, Ross netted the equalizer at the 11:57 mark of the first period before Abbate put Liberty on top 2-1 just 25 seconds into the second period.
Junior captain Will Fortugno put the Flames back on top, 3-2, at the 6:26 mark of the stanza before freshman forward Luke Bessire extended the edge to 4-2 exactly a minute and a half later and Ross netted an insurance goal with 13:53 remaining in regulation.
Liberty outshot Cal-Penn, 48-25, for the game and Pierce made 22 saves.
The Flames will be back in action this weekend with games Friday at 9:40 p.m. and Saturday at 10 p.m. at Kennesaw (Ga.) State.
Videos by Patrick Strawn/Club Sports Director of Video & Media