Senior hockey ‘hawks to say farewell this weekend vs. Liberty

Brian Carpenter, Staff Writer

The UNC Wilmington club hockey team will host Liberty University this weekend for its final two home games of the 2017-18 season at the Wilmington Ice House.

Coming off of a solid performance against Elon, the Seahawks head in with extra confidence knowing how well they have played against higher opponents this season.

“I think we can play with any division two school and I would like to schedule more of those games,” said UNCW coach Matt Huestis.

The team is very familiar with Liberty, having faced them twice in October at the LaHaye Ice Center on Oct. 27 and 28. The Seahawks won both of those games by finals of 8-1 and 4-3, respectively.

One of the key elements from that weekend was the Seahawks ability to score on the power play. Over the two games, UNCW scored a total of eight power play goals.

“It helped us a lot that Liberty’s whole first line was suspended especially in the first game,” said Huestis. “We are going to look at a tougher test this time with some of their top penalty killers out there.”

Liberty heads into the weekend with a 7-7 record and is currently ranked No. 14 in the South Region of the Division Three American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) standings. The Seahawks know the importance of this weekend with Liberty — a team they could possibly see in the regional tournament and one that’s hungry to climb up the rankings.

“We know they are going to come out strong having their top three guys back,” said defenseman Chris Schwartz. “It will be a lot more of a challenge for us especially on defense having some more firepower up front.”

The firepower the Seahawks mentioned includes Liberty’s Kade Mcdaniel, Jonathan Klakring and Kyle Jassman, who have combined for 54 points (24 goals and 30 assists) on the season through 14 games.

With so much offensive ability that Liberty brings, the Seahawks will remain focused on staying out of the penalty box and limiting Liberty’s chances.

“If we can stay out of the penalty box, I think that we can beat any team in our region,” said Schwartz.

Friday’s game will be played at 10 p.m. and will be called “Senior Night” to honor the seniors of the team. Saturday’s game will be played at 4:30 p.m

Contributing Writer Brian Carpenter can be found on Twitter @bostonfan17856. Any tips or suggestions should be forwarded via email to uncwseahawksports@gmail.comFor video updates from The Seahawk, subscribe to our YouTube channel.