Liberty flames out, UNCW hockey sweeps in home finale

Brian Carpenter, Staff Writer

UNC Wilmington club hockey team defeated Liberty by a final of 6-1 to improve their record to 14-0-1 on the season at the Wilmington Ice House on Saturday afternoon.

One of the key highlights over the course of the weekend against Liberty was the special teams play of the Seahawks. On Friday night, the team benefited from a strong penalty kill, which led to two shorthanded goals. On Saturday, the Seahawks scored a total of six power play goals which ties a season high.

“Our power play came up big today,” said defenseman Nik Matiatos. “Everyone stepped up and played their game today and it was awesome out there.”

Daniel Brescia’s power-play goal with 15:29 left in the first period got the Seahawks off to a quick start and set the tone for the team’s success on the power play throughout the afternoon.

In the second period, Greg Wiklund scored the first of his two power-play goals with 8:51 left in the second period to push the Seahawks to a 2-0 lead. The team did lose two of their top leaders in Tyler Evangelous and Bennett Clark however, as both received game misconducts.

“Obviously losing Tyler and Benny is a big blow to the team,” said forward Joey Alexander. “They are the heart and souls of our team and it made everybody play better and step up in their absence.”

Liberty’s Kyle Jassman got the Flames back in the game as his goal with 5:14 left in the second made it 2-1 Seahawks lead. The Seahawks responded after with two more power play goals from John Cooperrider and Hunter Phillips to make it 4-1 UNCW. The Phillips goal was set up by a nice pass from Alexander.

“I just took a slap pass right to Hunter’s stick and he tipped it right into the middle of the net,” said Alexander.

The Seahawks tallied two more power play goals in the third from Greg Wiklund and Charlie Peters to push the Seahawks lead to 6-1 and the victory.

This win improves the Seahawks to 10-0-1 at the Wilmington Ice House this season and for the seniors on the current roster, it was the last home game they ever play for UNCW.

“It has been a lot of fun,” said Matiatos. “I may be last on the team in points but I think I was first in their hearts. It has been a blast and we always had the best fans. I made it fun while it lasted and it is all thanks to you guys.”

The team will travel to Raleigh next Saturday, Feb. 3, to battle in-state rival North Carolina State at the Raleigh Ice Plex. The game is scheduled to start at 8:15 p.m.