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    February 17, 2023 Lynchburg, Va. RSS |

    In their final series of the regular season, Liberty University’s No. 1-ranked, four-time-defending ACHA Division I national champion women’s hockey team got four goals from its three captains in a 5-2 victory over No. 5 Adrian College, Friday afternoon at the LaHaye Ice Center (LIC).

    “Happy to get the win and start Senior Weekend on the right foot,” said Lady Flames Head Coach Chris Lowes, with the team planning to recognize senior forwards and alternate captains Yannick Truter and Brityn Fussy as well as Linzy Jedrzejek and defenseman Julia McDonald before the start of Saturday’s 1:30 p.m. rematch with the Bulldogs back at the LIC. “We had some good moments and had some girls step up at big times. That’s not what we think of of their leadership but they have the ability to do it on the ice, too, and today was a good example.”

    Madison Glynn (left) celebrates scoring the game-winner 2:31 after the opening faceoff alongside fellow sophomore defenseman Peyton Carle (79).

    Despite being outshot 11-5 in the first period, the Lady Flames (21-1-1) seized a 1-0 lead just two and a half minutes after the opening faceoff when sophomore defenseman Madison Glynn finished off feeds from junior forward Carly Glover (three assists) and sophomore defenseman Peyton Carle. Liberty doubled its lead to 2-0 on a power-play goal with 8:30 remaining in the second period when graduate forward and head captain Shelby Bradford converted an open shot in the left circle off assists from sophomore forward Zosia Adamek and Glover.

    Lowes was fired up on the bench immediately before Bradford’s goal, after taking a time out to set up the power play.

    “I didn’t think we were reading the pressure very well or getting the looks we wanted,” Lowes said. “Give Adrian credit. They did some things that confused us. But that was a relief to get that one. We know special teams are important and in a game like this, we can’t go 0-for-7. We need to get one and we were fortunate to do that.”

    As a freshman, Bradford earned MVP honors of the 2018 ACHA Division I National Championship final. That year, the Lady Flames defeated Adrian for their second of five titles and first of four under Lowes, then in his rookie season at the helm.

    The Lady Flames stretched their lead to 3-0 with 3:54 to play in the second period with a quick fast-break counterattack after junior goalie Amanda Storey made a great kick save of a shot from the right circle by sophomore forward Rhea Peterson. Truter picked up the rebound in the opposite circle and started a two-on-one breakaway with Bradford, who sent a return feed to Truter in the right crease for a point-blank putaway inside the right post.

    Less than a minute into the third period, the Bulldogs ended Storey’s shutout bid when Ashlynn Stitt finished a feed from fellow freshman forward Tyla Turnbull, trimming the deficit to 3-1. Then, with exactly 9:00 remaining in regulation, Adrian freshman forward Macy Piche cashed in on a fast break off an assist from sophomore forward Tess McKerrow, trimming Liberty’s lead to 3-2.

    Junior forward Carly Glover contributed three assists.

    “That’s a really good start to the third period for them and we had a good answer,” Lowes said.

    With 6:04 to play, and the teams skating 4-on-4, Fussy helped the Lady Flames ice the victory by taking a cross-ice breakout pass from Glover and skating the puck around Adrian freshman goalie Judith Schneider before pocketing it into the back of the net.

    Adrian (21-8) outshot Liberty 31-24 and Storey made 29 saves, though she would have liked to have had one that slipped through the five-hole in the third period back.

    “She’s a steadying force,” Lowes said of Storey. “She kept us in it there when they had their push and was big there at the end, and she stopped a big breakaway there at the start of the third. They had a few chances, a couple point-blanks and she stood tall on those.”

    After a penalty assessed to Liberty with just over two minutes to go, the Bulldogs (21-8) pulled Schneider to set up a 6-on-4, but the move backfired as the Lady Flames pounced on a loose puck after a blocked perimeter shot and Fussy skated it down before unleashing a dagger from the top of the right circle into the open net for the final score with 1:42 left.

    “Brit was dangerous today,” Lowes said of Fussy. “She looked fast, and looked dangerous in open ice, and she’s so good at creating her own offense. We scored some nice goals and we showed a little touch around the net, which was super encouraging.”

    The Bulldogs couldn’t capitalize on a 6-on-3 opportunity for a 25-second stretch in the final minute.

    “Adrian’s always a tough out and at the end there, that’s a little bit dangerous 6-on-4 with the goalie pulled,” Lowes said. “I know they’re down two, but with two minutes left, we felt the pressure a little bit. (Saturday’s regular-season finale) will be another tough test.”

    By Ted Allen/Staff Writer; Video by Patrick Strawn/Club Sports Director of Video & Media

    Senior forward and alternate captain Yannick Truter netted the Lady Flames’ third goal off a fast-break give-and-go to graduate forward and head captain Shelby Bradford.