Deceivingly Uneven Rivalry

By Margaux Gill

  • Liberty and Arizona have become a strong rivalry in division 1 club hockey
  • Flames prove to be better team in 2014 season
  • Defenseman Ben Hughes describes how tough it is to play the Wildcats

On Oct. 3-4, Liberty men’s division 1 hockey split a series, 1-1, with the University of Arizona.  However, the results of the games do not reveal the fact that the Flames proved dominant in gameplay.  Over the span of the weekend, Liberty outscored Arizona 13-6, with an 8-0 win Friday and 6-5 loss Saturday.

Sophomore goalie Matt Pinel had an impressive first game to start the weekend, stopping all 32 of the Wildcats’ shots on goal.  Grant Garvin and Ryley Egan finished with two goals, while Luke Hannon, Luke Simon, Matt Sherry, and Kyle Garcia all had one.

Although the Flames won over half of the face-offs and only racked up a mere seven penalties, the final score of game two was not in their favor.  It was tied 5-5 at the end of regulation, which was followed by a scoreless overtime period.  The Wildcats pulled off the win in a shootout, 2-1.

“Arizona is a team that just comes at you for the full 60 minutes,” said defenseman Ben Hughes.  “That’s always hard to deal with as a team.  [The games] were high energy with a lot of emotion.  They always play us really well.”

Since then, Liberty has gone 3-4 against their opponents.  They finally got their revenge, as two of those wins were against Arizona, when the Flames traveled to Tucson Oct. 24-25.

Next on the schedule are back-to-back games at West Virginia University over Halloween weekend.

***Quote from Ben Hughes is from an original interview with the author.  The information regarding the hockey season after the Oct. 3-4 weekend are added information by the author with sources of the hockey players, as well as the Liberty hockey website.

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