From Liberty Club Sports
By Ted Allen
Liberty University’s No. 1-ranked ACHA Division I women’s hockey team opened a 2-0 lead on Arizona State by the end of the first period of Saturday afternoon’s rematch at the LaHaye Ice Center. When the Sun Devils (8-5) finally scored midway through the second, the three-time defending national champion Lady Flames (14-0) responded with the last three goals of the period to end the fall semester with a 5-1 win, their 29th in a row.
“It was a good way to finish the semester and overall, it was a real successful one, so I’m happy with where we’re at,” Liberty Head Coach Chris Lowes said. “When we look back at it, we had a couple overtime wins, one come-from behind, and we just stayed pretty consistent.”
Five different players scored for the Lady Flames on Saturday.
“We had really balanced scoring this weekend from everyone,” Lowes said. “We’re getting production out of a lot of people.”
Liberty struck first just five minutes after the opening faceoff when graduate defenseman Sally Hoerr sent a pass from the point to senior forward Yannick Truter along the back boards where she fed sophomore linemate Carly Glover cutting into the left crease for a point-blank finish.
Lady Flames sophomore goalie Amanda Storey made a couple key saves of fast-break shots in the first period, including one by forward Jillian Ketchum from deep in the slot, before the sisters forward connection of Brityn and Brielle Fussy connected on a counterattack. Brielle, a freshman, won the puck along the boards on the defensive end and weaved her way around Sun Devils defensemen as she skated up the right wing. She then threaded a pass across the slot to her sophomore sister in the left circle, where she drew ASU goalie Hallie McClelland out of the cage and rifled a short wrist shot inside the right post for a 2-0 advantage with 9:19 to go in the first period.
“I saw her coming down and the defense cheated toward me, so I dished it to her and I knew she’d put it away,” Brielle Fussy said. “We’ve never been on the same line before, so that was fun to play with her. It’s good that we both have speed so we both can beat people and dish it to our teammates.”
Lowes said the Fussy sisters showed instant chemistry on the ice.
“They haven’t played together a lot, and even today, they weren’t on a line; they just had a few shifts together and some four-on-four stuff,” he said. “But we know we’ve always got that as an option, and they’ve been productive.”
The Sun Devils ended the shutout with 9:55 left in the second period when junior defenseman Berkleigh Radcliffe won the puck along the left boards and skated through the circle before roofing a shot over the head of Storey just under the crossbar, trimming the deficit to 2-1.
“Give them credit,” Lowes said. “They came back and looked a lot more prepared to play us today and their goalie played well. They looked a lot more confident, especially after they scored. We got it back, but they tied us in the third period, so that’s a big win for them.”
But the Lady Flames’ defense prevented ASU from even getting a shot at an equalizer and their attack answered with three goals by period’s end to all but ice the victory.
At the 8:23 mark, Brielle Fussy pounced on a loose puck in the slot and skated into the right circle before unleashing a righteous wrist shot over the Sun Devils’ defense and McClelland’s glove, extending Liberty’s lead to 3-1.
With 5:53 to go in the second, Lady Flames freshman forward Haley Battles sent a cross-crease assist to graduate forward Shannon Fehr for a one-timer that slipped under McClelland’s pads for a 4-1 advantage.
Junior defenseman Priscilla Ziefle capped the scoring at 5-1 with 1:54 to go in the period by receiving freshman defenseman Madison Glynn pass across the high slot and launching a shot through traffic that skipped past McClelland.
Both teams had quality chances in the third period, but neither could capitalize. Liberty outshot Arizona State 52-17 and Storey made 16 saves to improve to 8-0.
“Overall, we played a good game,” Lowes said. “I think we had similar chances as (Friday). We had a bunch of odd-man rushes and we just didn’t finish on them, and that was the difference.”
Following the Thanksgiving and Christmas Breaks, the Lady Flames will return to action Jan. 14-15 with another home series against Rhode Island.
“It’s definitely nice to end the semester undefeated so we can go into next semester with that confidence and that motive to stay undefeated,” Brielle Fussy said.
(Originally published at https://www.liberty.edu/club-sports/news/lady-flames-close-out-fall-semester-by-sweeping-sun-devils-improving-to-14-0/)