Newark, Del. — Defending Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Conference South Division winners Liberty (19-4-1, 10-2-1 MACH) open their 2019 postseason against second-year program Stevenson (7-16-0, 1-8-0 MACH) on Friday afternoon (Feb. 15) at Fred Rust Arena.
Game time is slated for 1:30 p.m. Eastern; radio coverage on Delaware Hockey Night Radio will commence at 1:15 p.m. Stevenson will also offer video streaming on their Facebook page.
The top-seeded Flames outscored the Mustangs 19-3 in two meetings this season, powering to an 8-2 win on Nov. 18 at the Reisterstown (Md.) Sportsplex before an 11-1 rout on Feb. 8 at the LaHaye Ice Center. In their first meeting, Liberty pelted Stevenson goalie Pat Schena with 60 shots, with Matt Perri, Aaron Partridge and Tim Doe each scoring twice for the Flames. In their meeting in Lynchburg last weekend, Liberty fired 86 shots on goal, and Joseph Nash led the Flames with a hat trick. Thomas Foschini spoiled the shutout hopes of Liberty goalie Adam Partridge, recording the lone goal for the Mustangs 10:23 into the third period.
Players To Watch: Liberty, who won the MACH championship in 2017 before falling to Penn State in overtime last year, seeks a sixth consecutive berth to the ACHA National Tournament, to be held the last week of March in Frisco, Texas. The Flames, consistently a deep, fast and physical team, carry three potent scoring lines and have five skaters on their current roster with at least ten goals: Drew Crilly (10-22—32), Perri (10-18—28), Nash (13-14—27), Doe (12-9—21) and Mike Niederer (10-6—16). Primary goalie Adam Partridge completed regular season action with a 15-2-1 record, a 2.20 GAA and a .931 save percentage.
Stevenson, who improved vastly from an 1-11-1 inaugural season, brings bigger numbers to this year’s MACH Tournament. Of the 14 skaters the Mustangs dress — twice as many from the conclusion of the 2018 season — four boast double-digit goal totals: Brandon Scholze (16-11—27), Josh Watterson (10-17—27), Foschini (13-11—24) and Gary Matyok (10-13—23). Goalie Pat Schena compiled a 6-12 record but boasts a solid .911 save percentage.
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