The University of Tampa club hockey team lost their home finale against the University of South Florida (USF) 6-2 at Amalie Arena. About five minutes into the first period, sophomore forward Joe Tully gave the Spartans an early 1-0 lead. USF quickly reacted as they tied the game back at one in what seemed to be a back and forth matchup between rival schools.
USF scored again to break the deadlock but freshman left winger Matthew Antonacci tied the game back up with less than five minutes to go in the period. UT almost regained the lead once again but their third goal was denied due to the fact that the Ice Bulls net was off its hinges. Also, Antonacci left the game due to a shoulder injury as the first period concluded.
Once the second period began, the game began to slip away from the Spartans as the Ice Bulls scored three straight goals to give them a 5-2 lead. After that, sophomore goalie Christian Hamlett was pulled out of the game as senior Greg Lemrow replaced him behind the pipes. The Spartans had a chance to limit the deficit later in the period but puck was stopped just short of the goal line.
In the end, the Ice Bulls scored another goal to finish off the contest. Despite the 6-2 loss, the Spartans will get their chance at revenge as they face off against the Ice Bulls in their regular season finale on Wednesday. Also, UT will play USF again on Friday in the first round of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) South Regional tournament in Orlando.
“We need to stay focused and play as a team. A lot of guys tried to take over the game individually and we cannot do that,” said head coach Stephen Kucera. “We have moments where everybody is watching the puck and they lose sight of their assignment. That has to change and it will change.”
Junior forward Nick Martin also discusses the improvements that the Spartans need to take before regionals. “We need to have less penalties and play better defense all around. We were out of position a lot as we were watching the puck in front of the net.
Phil Novotny can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org