UT Roller Hockey Finishes Ninth, Loses in HeartbreakerSECRHL March 21st, 2009 at 2:07AM March 21st, 2009 2:07AM
This past weekend, The University of Tampaâ€™s Roller Hockey team traveled to Snellville, Ga. (25 minutes outside of Atlanta) to play in the National Collegiate Roller Hockeyâ€™s Southeast Division Regional Championships.
The Spartans finished the regular season with a 11-3-2 record and were given the third seed in Pool B which meant they had to face College of Charleston, Elon University and Kennesaw State University in the round robin portion of regionals.
Tampa faced off against College of Charleston at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Both teams started off strong as the game was tied 1-1 within two minutes of the first period.
UT realized that College of Charleston was no match for them and responded by scoring nine unanswered goals, the Spartans winning the game 10-1. UT was led by sophomore defenseman Jimmy Westwood, who tallied three goals and two assists.
The Spartans next game was against long time rival Elon University. Elon started the game off strong with two first period goals. Tampa goaltender, Guy Antonnaci, made some incredible saves that period to keep the score at only 2-0.
Tampa came out of the first intermission flying, led by junior transfer, Rowan Porter, who
scored a natural hat trick in the second period. After the second period, Elon scored a quick goal in the beginning of the third to tie the game at 3-3. Late in the second period, Porter received a breakaway pass from sophomore Rob Harrison and buried the puck to give UT a 4-3 lead.
With only seconds left in the third, Elon had an open net, but out of nowhere, Captain Jeff Kotcher dove into the crease and made a game saving save to give UT the 4-3 victory.
With little rest, the Spartans had to play the Central Conference champions, Kennesaw State Falcons. The Spartans found themselves down 2-0 after the first period, but second period goals by Harrison, Porter and Kotcher gave Tampa a 3-2 lead.
After a back a forth third period, the puck found the stick of Porter who netted the game winning goal with less then a minute to go in the game.
UT won the game 5-4 and received the second seed overall, behind Florida Atlantic University for the single elimination round.
After destroying Florida State University 11-5 in the first round of the playoffs, led by Porterâ€™s five goals and squeezing by Elon for the second time in the tournament 5-3, the Spartans found themselves in a match up with Florida Atlantic University.
It was a back and forth game with both teams taking the lead several times. Antonacci stood on his head the entire game making great save after great save. With two seconds left to go in the game, Tampa found themselves down 7-6. The puck found the stick of Kotcher who whipped a pass through the crease for Porter to tip the puck in the net as time expired.
Unfortunately, Tampa lost the game, 8-7 in OT. Porter led the Spartans in scoring during the regional tournament with 20 goals and five assists for a total of 25 points.
Kotcher was second on the team in scoring with 13 points, followed by Harrison who had 10 points. Even though the Spartans lost in the finals of the Southeast regionals, they received one of the nine at large bids from the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association and will be competing in the NCRHA National Championships April 2-5 in Feasterville, Pa.
Due to the strong showing by the Spartans all season and in the regional championship, the Spartans finished the season ranked no. 9 out of over 100 DII teams.