Tampa Roller Hockey Improves to 8-0 With Wins Over Division I Rivals FAU AND UCFSECRHL December 6th, 2009 at 4:26AM December 10th, 2009 10:59PM
This weekend, The University of Tampaâ€™s Roller Hockey Team traveled to Ft. Myers, FL, for the second of four National Collegiate Roller Hockey League events. The first game of the event, Tampa took on The University of Florida. Tampa looked to impress the fans during this game as a few UT students decided to take the short drive down to watch the team in action. Junior, Rob Harrison scored a goal 25 seconds into the game giving the Spartans a 1-0 lead.
Tampa did not look back and won the game 9-2 as senior forward, Rowan Porter added two goals and four assists, while sophomore Phil Gilchrist and junior transfer, Cameron Rowand both added two goals and an assist.
In the second game of the event, Tampa took on Florida International University. Newly added freshman, Bryan Kaplan, started the scoring for Tampa, putting the puck past the FIU goalie only 19 seconds into the game. Sophomore forward PJ Catania was named the gamesâ€™ first start adding a goal and two assists as UT won the game 8-3. Freshman Sam Sherman and Chris Whelan along with senior John Recenello chipped in with great efforts.
After a good nights rest, the Spartans had two statement games on Sunday. Tampa took on in state rival, Florida Atlantic University. FAU defeated the Spartans in last year Southeast regional championships, so the Spartans were eager for revenge. Tampa came out flying as Porter and Rowand scored early. FAU came back with two quick goals. As both teams traded goals, the score was 4-4 entering the third period. Porter took over the scoring in the third period with a natural hat trick as Tampa defeated FAU 8-4. Porter was named the gamesâ€™ first star with four goals while Rowand was the gamesâ€™ third star with two goals.
Even though Tampa entered the fourth game of the event against power house UCF, with a 7-0 record, the Spartans were not satisfied. UCF, who is ranked seven in Division I by IRC National Rankings, the Spartans did not back down. Tampa was led in this game by their Junior Captain, Jeff Kotcher. The first period was dominated by the Knights, but senior goaltender Guy Antonacci, stood on his head making 15 first period saves.
The Spartans trailed the Knights 2-0 at the end of the first period, but Porter got the Spartans on the board with a seeing-eye backhand. UFC adding another goal to bring the score to 3-1, but that is when Kotcher started to take over. The Captain from Valley Stream, NY scored a goal at the end of the second period to make the score 3-2 and then scored again a minute into the third period to tie the game at three.
Rowand then took advantage on the power play to give the Spartans a 4-3 lead. After the Spartans took the lead, the intensity of both teams picked up. UCF came out flying, but junior, Jimmy Westwood and sophomore, Marco Varrino, made some excellent defensive plays to keep Tampa in the lead. With three minutes left, UCF tied the game. With both teams refusing to accept a tie, more and more fans were drawn to this exciting finish. With 37 seconds left in the game, Porter made a pass through the slot to
Kotcher, who sniped the UCF goalie low blocker side, which gave the Spartans the lead and ultimately, the win.
Tampa finished the weekend 4-0 and brought their overall record to 8-0. Tampa is looking to improve on their elite eight finish in last years Nationals in Feasterville, PA. The Spartans next event is in Lake Worth, FL, January 23rd and 24th. You can follow UTâ€™s Roller Hockey Team on www.secrhl.org.
Brett Kotcher can be reached at [email protected]