The Rowan D-II ice hockey team brought momentum from a busy three-game slate last week into Saturday night’s game against Liberty University.
The issue is that the momentum only lasted for the first half of the game.
After taking a 2-0 lead into the locker room at the end of the first period, the Profs began to fall apart, finding themselves behind 3-2 at the end of the second.
The fast-skating Liberty Flames finished off the brown and gold in the third, winning by a final score of 7-3.
Anthony Dellerose had the hot hand for Rowan as he scored the first two goals, one on a rebound and the second coming from a snipe.
“The first was a good rebound for me,” Dellerose said. “The second came on the power play on a good pass in the slot and I was able to finish it.”
The Profs began to get pushed back on their heels near the end of the second, but fell victim to a lack of discipline in the third. The Flames capitalized on penalty after penalty and when Rowan got a power play opportunity, it quickly evaporated due to a call against them.
“Everything we did was self-inflicted,” said head coach John Caulfield. “We made some bad decisions, but we seemed to have jammed all of our bad decisions into the last 20 minutes.”
Penalties weren’t the only achilles heel for Rowan. Turnovers played a key role in the big third period for the Flames, including a costly turnover by Sam Ahern in the defensive zone that allowed Liberty to skate in for a breakaway score.
“We need to come out and play a 60 minute game,” said captain Peter Kaz. “We need to clean things up in our own zone. We allowed some odd man rushes in this game so we need to work on that.”
Bobby Penrod scored a late goal to bridge the gap for the brown and gold, keeping his hot streak going.
Rowan had their opportunities to create odd-man rushes in transition via outlet passes out of the defensive zone up the ice to beat the defense, but many of the passes were off the mark and wound up going for icing calls most of the night.
“Most of our passes were definitely not crisp,” Caulfield said. “I didn’t like how we were passing on Thursday (in practice) and we brought that to the game tonight. A lot of indecision with the puck tonight.”
Liberty University was the national runner-up last year, but had many of their top players graduate. The Flames showed that even with a younger team, their system is still effective.
The loss will play a big role in where Rowan sits when the first wave of computerized rankings are released this week.
Until then, the Profs will get a week off before getting on the bus on Friday, Nov. 17 at Penn State University at 8:30 p.m.
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