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    January 13, 2023 Athens, Ohio RSS |

    For the second year in a row, Liberty University’s ACHA Division I men’s hockey team started the spring semester with a shutout loss, falling 7-0 at Ohio University on Friday night at Bird Arena in Athens, Ohio. The shocking setback, the Flames’ first shutout since opening 2022 with a 5-0 defeat at Stony Brook last Jan. 22, evens the overall series record between the two rivals at 17-17.

    “We just didn’t play well at all,” Liberty Head Coach Kirk Handy said. “All of us, coaches, players, we just didn’t execute, didn’t play the way we want to play at all. The responsibility starts with me. I take full responsibility, along with all of the other coaches and players. We need to be better at this point. At the end of the day, we didn’t come ready to play.”

    The No. 7-ranked Bobcats (18-4-1), which were coming off a series split with Stony Brook at home, outshot the No. 3 Flames (13-7) by a 37-22 margin, scoring two goals in the first and second periods before adding three unanswered in the third.

    “It’s always tough that first game back from break (but) that first period, we weren’t ourselves,” Handy said. “We really weren’t ourselves for 60 minutes tonight. We had a lack of passion, a lack of desire, and a lack of execution, which are usually trademarks of us when we’re playing well, but they were non-existent tonight.”

    Flames senior goalie Hunter Virostek made 30 saves in the lopsided loss while Ohio netminder Max Karlenzig saved all 22 shots he faced to post his third shutout of the season.

    Ohio got three assists from ACHA leading scorer Luc Reeve and back-to-back goals from fellow forward Laker Aldridge spanning the second and third periods and Hollander Thompson to cap the scoring in the third. Bobcats defenseman Sam Turner started the scoring with 5:44 to go in the first period off assists from Phil Angervil and Reeve before Andrew Sacca made it 2-0 just 2:11 before the first intermission. Angervil started the second-period scoring at the 12:31 mark, finishing feeds from Thompson and defenseman Blake Rossi.

    “It was not so much what they did, but it was what we didn’t do,” Handy said. “It was really on us. We were spent, physically, and mentally, we weren’t there. In the mental part of our game, we just didn’t have much of any pushback. It was a disappointing night for us, but it is a new day tomorrow and we’re looking forward to it. In a season like this, we still believe we have a great hockey team, but we’ve got to get back to playing like it (on Saturday).”

    Freshman goalie Jackson Glassford, a spring semester addition to the Flames’ roster, will start Saturday’s rematch set for 7 p.m. back at Bird Arena. The contest will be streamed live on Ohio Hockey’s pay-per-view channel.

     By Ted Allen/Staff Writer