Lady Flames repeat 6-1 WMCH semifinal slaying of Saints
Liberty University’s No. 1-ranked ACHA Division I women’s hockey team repeated its 6-1 rout of fifth-seeded tournament host Maryville (Mo.) University in Friday’s Women’s Midwest College Hockey (WMCH) tournament semifinal.
The Lady Flames (23-1-1) converted two out of three power-play opportunities and went a perfect 5-for-5 on penalty kills against the Saints (14-13-3-1) to take control of the contest and advance to Saturday’s 5 p.m. (EST) final.
“Special teams are really important in playoff hockey,” Liberty Head Coach Chris Lowes said. “Tonight, ours were better than theirs, and overall, from top to bottom, the girls were buzzing, playing with a lot of confidence. We had a pretty solid 60 minutes and I was really happy with the way the girls played.”
The Lady Flames scored two goals in the first period — by junior forward Carly Glover off an assist from senior forwards and alternate captains Yannick Truter and Brityn Fussy on a power play and senior defenseman Aislyn Stretch off a feed from Glover. They then padded their lead with four more unanswered scores in the second period on only eight shots, with the first coming off the stick of graduate forward and head captain Shelby Bradford from sophomore forward Zosia Adamak. Glover made it 4-0 by finishing feeds from Adamak and Bradford before sophomore forward Haley Battles converted assists from senior forwards Linzy Jedrzejek and Truter and Truter put away passes from Bradford and Adamek on a power play.
“Adamek played a really good game, and we gave her player of the game honors,” Lowes said after she set up three of the Lady Flames’ final four scores.
Marysville finally ended Liberty junior goalie Amanda Storey’s shutout bid by netting the only goal of the third period. For the game, the Lady Flames outshot the Saints, 28-24, and Storey made 23 saves to improve to 11-0 and lower her goals-against average to 1.28.
“Their best chances came in the first period, when we had a couple soft changes and gave them some opportunities, and Storey came up big on those,” Lowes said.
After last season’s WMCH semifinal showdown with the Saints, the Lady Flames went on to beat Midland in the final for their third consecutive title, as they did again three weeks later back in the St. Louis area to clinch a record fourth straight and fifth overall ACHA DI National Championship. On Saturday, Liberty will face the winner of Friday’s second semifinal between No. 2 Midland and No. 3 Minot State, seeking its fourth WMCH crown in the conference’s fourth season.
“We are feeling really good about the matchup tomorrow,” Lowes said. “Whether it’s against the No. 2 or No. 3 seed, the girls will be fired up for that opportunity and challenge. We have played both Midland and Minot State in a conference final before, beating Minot twice.”
By Ted Allen/Staff Writer