Lady Flames open nationals play by slaying Saints, 7-0, on Storey’s seventh shutout
It was a perfect opening night for Liberty University’s No. 1-ranked, three-time defending ACHA Division I national champion women’s hockey team. The Lady Flames put on an offensive clinic against No. 9 Maryville University in a 7-0 quarterfinal triumph, their 38th in a row, Friday in Plager Arena at the Centene Community Ice Center in Maryland Heights, Mo.
In a rematch of their Women’s Midwest College Hockey (WMCH) tournament semifinal, also played in the St. Louis suburb, the Lady Flames (23-0) took a little while to warm up before pouring it on the Saints (15-16-1), from nearby Chesterfield, Mo. Liberty showcased its speed on the fast break, cycling ability on the power play, and endurance on the ice with a relentless attack that outshot Maryville, 52-9.
Sophomore goalie Amanda Storey made nine saves to record her seventh shutout on the season.
The Lady Flames converted three of their eight power-play opportunities and four even-strength goals to advance to Saturday’s 5 p.m. (EST) semifinal in the USA Arena against No. 5-seeded Lindenwood, which will be playing on its home ice. The Lions, who upset No. 4 Adrian College, 2-1, in Friday’s first of four quarterfinals, are the only other team to have won three consecutive ACHA DI national championships (2008-10) and four total titles, records that Liberty can eclipse with two more victories this weekend.
With 8:56 left in the first period, Liberty sophomore forward Brityn Fussy took a faceoff feed at the top of the right circle and skated around the right corner before threading a pass from the back boards into sophomore forward Carly Glover for a point-blank finish and a 1-0 Liberty lead.
Then, with 35 seconds left in the first, Brielle Fussy started a fast break with a pass to forward Zosia Adamek, whose shot on the odd-man rush was cleaned up by fellow freshman forward Haley Battles, an ACHA All-Rookie First Team player and second-leading scorer whose putback doubled Liberty’s lead to 2-0.
Shannon Fehr fanned the Lady Flames’ fast-break attack by skating the puck up the right wing before dropping it to fellow graduate forward Shelby Bradford for a wrist shot in the right circle at the 14:10 mark, extending Liberty’s lead to 3-0.
Brielle Fussy netted the Lady Flames’ fourth goal with 1 second left on a power play after taking a right circle faceoff win in the corner, skating clockwise around the cage and left circle, and firing a shot from high in the slot midway through the second period. Glover then converted her second score of the night with 11 seconds to play in the second period, gathering the puck after a shot from the right circle by Brityn Fussy and finishing in the slot to give Liberty a commanding 5-0 advantage.
With 14:05 left in the third period, in the closing seconds of a power play, senior defenseman Aislyn Stretch fired an open shot from the top of the left circle that slipped past the left pad of Saints goalie Kaitlyn Cadrain to stretch Liberty’s lead to 6-0. Finally, in the final 20 seconds of a 5-on-3 power play, Brityn Fussy capitalized with a wrist shot from the left circle for the final score with 3:07 remaining.
The Lady Flames swept Lindenwood in their only series this season at the LaHaye Ice Center, winning the season-opener, 7-2, and the rematch, 3-2 in overtime, on Glover’s sudden-death game-winner. The other semifinal to follow at 8 p.m. (EST) pits No. 2 Midland against No. 3 Minot State with Sunday’s championship game set for 3 p.m. (EST), also at Centene Center’s USA Arena.
By Ted Allen/Staff Writer; Video by Patrick Strawn/Club Sports Director of Video & Media