In Lynchburg, Va., against a second straight top-10 opponent, No. 19 Arizona hockey (3-3-0) split its two-game series with No. 10 Liberty (8-2-0), outscoring the Flames in total 7-6.
The Wildcats opened the competition with a 5-1 win on Friday night. Senior Steven Sisler saved 37 of 38 shots on goal while junior winger Michael Ferreira potted two goals with an assist.
Senior forward Andrew Murmes found the net for Arizona and added a couple of assists as well.
“It was the first real time this season my line started clicking,” Ferreira said. “We were just finding each other on the ice and it felt good. We finally did what we were supposed to do.”
It was also the first time since Jan. 19 against then-No. 5 Oklahoma that the Wildcats bested a top-10 squad. The last time Arizona had beaten Liberty was six days following a victory against the Sooners in the 2012-13 season.
“Sisler held his reign in there and did everything he could do,” said head coach Sean Hogan. “Saturday he played well again; we just didn’t capitalize on a lot of our chances.”
Sophomore forward Charles Williams was the lone scorer for the Flames Friday. Freshman goalie Matt Pinel was pulled in the second period for senior Blair Bennett.
With Sisler between the pipes again, Murmes netted his second power play goal of the game in the third period to cut Liberty’s lead to one goal. The Wildcats nearly tied the game at three, but caught a tough break when a shot from Ferreira rung off the post.
The Flames gained the momentum and took advantage of Ferreira’s tough luck, adding two goals to close out the 5-2 Saturday win.
“It was pretty upsetting because you never know what could’ve happened if that one went in,” Ferreira said. “The boys picked me up right away and we tried to rally, but we couldn’t seem to pop another one.”
Hogan has accumulated a 2-4 record against Liberty since taking over as head coach.
Arizona will have off-ice workouts Monday. For the second week in a row, the team will travel to Chandler, Ariz., to practice on ice Tuesday.
Then at 4 a.m. on Wednesday, the team will leave for a Thursday night game against No. 11 Central Oklahoma along with a pair of contests Friday and Saturday against No. 3 Oklahoma.
“Our schedule is certainly against us right now,” Hogan said.
— Follow Joey Putrelo @JoeyPutrelo