Hockey improves to 2-1

The Arizona Wildcats (2-0-1) ACHA Division I men’s hockey team rallied from a three-goal deficit during the third period before beating the Liberty Flames (7-0-2) in a shootout to split the series on Saturday afternoon in Lynchburg, Va.

Arizona freshman defenseman Brett Fagerheim delivered the dagger of the shootout in the back of the net to seal the Wildcats’ shootout upset.

“No matter what happened, we maintained our disciplined gameplay,” Gargerheim said. “We deserved to win through our perseverance and focus.”

UA sophomore forward Alex O’dea hit a slapshot that tipped off the stick of fellow forward Mike Adamowicz and flipped inside the top right corner of the cage to put the Wildcats on the scoreboard first.

Flames freshman Grant Garvin answered Arizona by sticking in the rebound of a shot taken by senior forward Ryley Egan and one-timed it into the net from deep.

With its second power-play goal of the game, Dylan Carter barely tipped in Robbie Wilkinson’s shot to reclaim a 2-1 lead for Arizona.

Liberty answered back with a counterattack to extend the Flames’ lead to 4-2. With less than one minute remaining during the second period, Liberty freshman Luke Simon hammered a slapshot during a three-on-two.

Liberty seemed to have a commanding 5-2 lead but failed to carry that momentum over into the third period.

The Wildcats battled with two quick goals by Adomowicz and Wilkonson.

A retaliatory penalty was called on the Flames allowing Arizona to have a power play advantage. O’dea capitalized and lifted the puck inside the right post of Liberty sophomore goalie Matt Pinel.

During the shootout, O’dea was the first to score, and Flames freshman forward Luke Hannon answered to keep Liberty tied after the second round.

“I know their goalie had a pretty good glove, so my intent was to go in and shoot blocker side,” O’dea said. “Coach Berman suggested that I go for the shot fake, and luckily, that froze the goalie just enough for the puck to sneak in.”

Fagerheim put the Wildcats back on top as Liberty freshman forward Luke Simon was unable to do the same after failing to fake out Arizona goalie Garrett Patrick. Carter, Griffen Dyne and Wilkinson all missed their shots, but Arizona still managed to win the shootout 2-1.

Arizona beat Liberty 6-5 to make it the third straight season the Wildcats had salvaged a split on the Flames’ home ice.The result of the rematch was different from Friday night’s game when Liberty destroyed Arizona 8-0, despite the Flames only outshooting the Wildcats 34-32.

Arizona will travel to Tempe this weekend to play in a two-game series against ASU (4-0-0) starting Friday night.

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