Game #2 - Alabama 1, #15 Liberty 6
LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Alabama hockey team fell to 1-1 on the season with a 6-1 loss at No. 15 Liberty on Saturday afternoon. While junior Jesse Gordichuk matched his career-high with 39 saves for the second straight night, it was not enough to keep UA in the game.
“Our team as a whole has to play defense harder and stronger,” head coach Kyle Richards said. “We let them get inside of us and right on top of Gordichuk. Too many turnovers in our own zone with clear possession.”
Liberty got on the board late in the first period when Grant Garvin hammered home a rebound off Gordichuk’s right leg. Both teams had two power plays in the opening 20 minutes, but neither could capitalize.
The Flames dominated the middle frame, scoring three unanswered goals despite going on the penalty kill three times. Zachary Hayes extended Liberty’s lead just three minutes into the period. With 14:54 on the clock, Alabama’s Zach McDaniel and the Flames’ Cole Gammer took off-setting penalties. Fifty-two seconds later Jacob Fricks also was sent off, giving Alabama a four-on-three advantage that they could do nothing with.
“The power play just needs reps,” Richards said. “Those guys are too talented. I’m not worried yet. Obviously, it would have been nice to see it click more often. Once we sure up some power play principles, we’ll be great.”
Tyler Harris scored for the Flames at the 9:37 mark, and Brock Thompson added a power-play goal with 6:14 on the clock to give Liberty a 4-0 lead at the end of the period.
The Flames added another goal just 1:35 into the third period. Alabama earned three more power plays, but failed to score. With 5:23 on the clock, Taylor Bowman took a boarding penalty to put the Flames on the power play. Just over a minute later, Garvin added his second goal of the night.
Dylan Teed scored Alabama’s lone goal on the final power-play of the game at the 18:30 mark. Jack Rooney was credited with the assist.
Alabama was outshot, 53-28, in the contest, marking the most they have allowed since Missouri State fired 64 on Jan. 17, 2016.
Alabama returns home for its home-opener on Friday, Sept. 22. The team will host Arkansas at the Pelham Civic Complex with the puck set to drop at 7 p.m. CT.