From Liberty Club Sports
By Ted Allen
Freshmen on Liberty University’s ACHA Division I women’s hockey team have made a seamless transition to the collegiate game, as they showed by accounting for half of the goals in Friday afternoon’s 14-0 spring semester-opening romp over Rhode Island at the LaHaye Ice Center — the Lady Flames’ 30th consecutive victory overall.
“I feel like we’re making a big impact this year,” said freshman defenseman Peyton Carle, who scored the first two goals of her ACHA career Friday after netting the tying goal in Tuesday night’s 2-1 exhibition win over Hockey Training Institute’s (HTI) junior team, also at the LIC. “The atmosphere in the dressing room is super good. All the girls are bonding very well together. There’s no drama and we’re all here for the right reasons and it’s showing on the ice, too. We all work very well together with great chemistry.”
Liberty needed just 3:00 to break the scoring ice on a beautifully executed fast break opportunity sparked by graduate defenseman Dana McLeod’s pass from behind the Lady Flames’ cage to graduate forward Shannon Fehr along the right boards. Fehr unleashed a cross-ice outlet pass to sophomore forward Brityn Fussy, who skated the puck into the left circle before beating Rams goalie Janelle Kelleher with a perfectly placed wrist shot into the top right corner of the cage.
Less than six minutes later, freshman forward Zosia Adamek sent a pass from the top of the right circle through the slot to graduate forward Shelby Bradford deep in the left crease, where she quickly converted a top-shelf wrist shot for a 2-0 Lady Flames advantage with 11:14 left in the first period.
Adamek and Bradford nearly connected again for a score before Bradford gathered the rebound of the puck behind the cage and spotted freshman defenseman Madison Glynn with a pass in the high slot where she threaded a shot just inside the right post, padding the Lady Flames’ edge to 3-0 with 4:26 left in the period.
“The first period we got going and then once we got the momentum, our speed and depth was key for us today,” Lady Flames Head Coach Chris Lowes said. “We made a lot of shots today, didn’t have many mistakes on scoring chances.”
Just over a minute into the second period, Liberty extended its lead to 4-0 when sophomore forward Carly Glover sent a long diagonal outlet feed to freshman forward Haley Battles near the Rhode Island blue line. She pushed the puck past a Rams defenseman before skating on the cage and finishing with a point-blank wrist shot into the upper netting.
The Lady Flames made it 5-0 on a shorthanded goal with 5:25 remaining in the second when Glover received a long pass down the middle of the ice from senior defenseman Aislyn Stretch and skated in on Kelleher before sneaking a shot through the five hole.
Then, freshman forward Brielle Fussy collected the rebound of her own blocked shot around the cage and made a spectacular move through the high slot, changing directions around defensemen before depositing a sharp-angled backhanded shot inside the right post, making it 6-0 at the 4:08 mark.
With 36 seconds left in the period and the Lady Flames on the power play, sophomore forward Rianna Spanier lifted a left-handed putback of a shot by senior forward Linzy Jedrzejek off Kelleher’s glove into the top-right corner of the net, with the first goal of her Liberty career stretching the advantage to 7-0 going into the second intermission.
“Special teams changes games and that four-minute stretch of the second period where we score on the power play and shorthanded, those are critical,” Lowes said.
Battles capitalized on her second score of the afternoon with 15:28 remaining in the third, lifting a backhanded wrist shot off the shoulder of replacement goalie Amelia Lambert and into the upper netting off Adamek’s second assist.
Adamek extended the advantage to 9-0 with 12:01 to play, receiving a short pass from freshman forward Laura Arfstrom and deflecting her shot off the pads of Lambert through the five hole.
Carle then slammed home a fast-break pass across the crease from graduate forward Vanessa DeMerchant from deep in the right crease, stretching Liberty’s lead to 10-0 with 10:10 to go.
“We had a lot of good finishes today,” Carle said. “It was a good game. We just finished which is what we need to be doing. Our coaches were wanting the defense to step up a lot and I feel like we executed that very well.”
The Lady Flames added four more goals in the final 4:32, starting with freshman defenseman Sammy Peebles’ first score of her collegiate career, a laser through traffic from near the right point making it 11-0. Adamek netted her second goal of the game into the top-right corner of the cage at the 4:10 mark before senior forward Yannick Truter and Carle capped the scoring.
Liberty (15-0), the three-time defending ACHA DI national champions ranked No. 1 in the nation since the start of the season, outshot the Rams by a 49-7 count. The Lady Flames will host Rhode Island in Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. rematch, which will again be streamed live by LFSN.
(Originally published at https://www.liberty.edu/club-sports/news/youth-movement-lady-flames-freshmen-net-seven-goals-in-14-0-rout-of-rhode-island/)