BELLINGHAM - Andrew Liebel put on a five-star performance with a five-point night including four goals - hat trick in the third period alone - as the Western Washington University Vikings pulled out a 6-4 win over the University of Washington Huskies late Friday night / early Saturday morning inside the Sportsplex ice rink.
The Huskies were up 4-2 with UW starting center Christian Cinderella scoring back-to-back goals. It would be a sign that the Huskies would start pulling away from the Vikings again after both clubs went back and forth in goals throughout the first period. But Liebel would start the comeback with 7:02 remaining in the second period. Washington would not be able to hold the lead for the rest of the evening as Liebel would do the hat trick-like performance in the third period - his second goal of the period was the actual hat trick - scoring at 1:14, 8:25, and 18:11 in the final period as the Vikings improved to 5-4-1 overall.
Washington led 1-0 after Cory Tung beat out Vikings goaltender Phil Schwartz just 3:25 into the contest. Brett Baker tied the game at one at the 8:45 mark, but Mason Friedman helped regain the lead to 2-1 at 10:25. Aaron Hack tied it up at two at 15:54 and both teams knew this would be tight throughout the night.
It would also be a physical night as well. Out of the combined 15 penalties for 44 minutes, nine of those penalties came in the third period. The big set of penalties came late in the game on a breakaway when the Huskies attempted to tie the game up but instead would end up with a scrum in front of the WWU net. Huskies defenseman Troy Gasser and Vikings defenseman Aiden Knabb ended up scrapping while down on the ice and both players were told by referee Willie Cove to hit the showers. Both players were slapped with a 'four-minute minor" for fighting - this to avoid sitting out Saturday night's game - but Gasser had some choice words to Cove so he was slapped with a 10-minute unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Huskies drop to 10-7-1 overall and will try to win the regular season series against the Vikings on Saturday night at 10:15 pm.
HUSKY HOCKEY NOTES...
- Tavin Jackson did not travel with the team up to Bellingham despite his hometown at nearby Point Roberts, which is located across the Bellingham Bay. Also not making the trip up the I-5 was Steven Chiu, James Feldman, and Joe Kinkopf.
- Jordan Fitzgibbon earned two assists on Friday night. He had to help defenseman Graham Gustafson serve one-half of his double roughing minor earlier in the third period, which resulted in a power play goal scored by Liebel - the actual hat trick goal - giving the Vikings the 5-4 lead. He also was part of the major scrum but this time he and WWU's Derek Binder serving the coincidental roughing minors at the 17:24 mark of the third period.
- Debbie Chen backed up Jeff Miles in goal. It would be his first game in almost three calendar weeks.
- Cinderella's two goals helped his stats total up to six goals, and 19 points. More good news for him...his Seattle Totems teammates defeated the Southern Oregon Spartans, 5-2, in Western States Hockey League action in Mountlake Terrace. Cinderella plans on playing Sunday afternoon's game there, just a little over 12 hours after Saturday night's game.
- The Huskies are back to .500 against non-conference opponents as they fall to 5-5 against them. It was their first regular season loss at the Sportsplex since February 4th, 2011, when UW fell to WWU, 8-5.