The University of Connecticut came to town for a two game series facing our FGCU D2 squad at Germain Arena this past weekend. It made for good hockey and a great series to take in.
Friday evening launched the series with the puck drop and within minutes, (#14) Kevin Zipkin put FGCU on the board when he slammed the puck home at (16:49) against (#35) Nick Naclerio in net for the U Conn Huskies. The Huskies did not remain quiet very long, as they answered with a goal scored at (13:03) in the first.
Not long afterwards, U Conn net minder, Naclerio was handed a penalty for delay of game and the penalty clock was running the remainder of the first as this was a game that escalated to figthing proportions with adrenaline pumping. The first period would end in both teams dead locked at one goal a piece.
The second period began with a similar bang, as our own rifle (#10) Dan Echeverri slapped one past U Conn’s Naclerio at (18:59) into play. Fritz and Richter were granted ths assists for FGCU and it was off at the races. Only a few minutes later, U Conn answered with two of their own goals against (#1) Ryan Lynch in the FGCU net to take their lead by one at
3-2 heading into the final period of play.
The third period was the best one in this game, as FGCU did come back to tie things up and force a short overtime period. (#19) Steve Gutowitz tied this game at three each at (9:26) and the dead lock went beyond regulation. This action was definitely the kind to take you to the edge of your seat, as both squads hammered their opposing goalie to try to break this tie.
As both teams prepared for overtime you could feel the anticipation in the rink and FGCU delivered in full! The overtime match was short lived as, (#14) Kevin Zipkin sank the game winning goal for FGCU at (2:19) into OT play. FGCU would return Saturday to home ice in a one up position in this series.
Saturday packed the second showdown between FGCU and U Conn in sunny Florida. FGCU wanted to sweep this series and U Conn wanted to head home with a split in the outcome.
The first period was dominated by FGCU offense as once again, (#10) Dan Echeverri rifled a puck past (#1) Mike Ford for U Conn, as they decided to change their net minder of choice for this match. (#7) Nick Allega and (#9) Steven Gutowitz got the assists on the initial goal to open things up for FGCU. Even with killing the power play most of this period, two more goals were scored for FGCU, by (#18) Colton Bailey at (17:31) again, by Mr. Echeverri at (15:54).
U Conn did get on the board at (9:41) of the first for a tally of 3-1 in favor of FGCU going into the first intermission.
The second period packed a lot of action in both zones and in the penalty boxes, but the main highlight was with (#10) Dan Echeverri got a hat trick when he scored the lone goal of the period at (9:11). FGCU meant business in this game, after two periods they out shot U Conn at 35 to 20 and (#1) Ryan Lynch played a rather solid net to hold FGCU to their lead. This would serve as the only goal for the second period. FGCU opened up their lead to a tally of 4-1.
Tempers ran high as well as there were two unsportsmanlike penalties handed one to each team, as well as a steady rotation in and out of the penalty boxes for the remainder of this match. The third would also bring a ten minute misconduct call to each team as things did not quiet down one bit, and for the level of playing action it spurred, this fan was not disappointed at all!
The third period saw U Conn strike first in the net at (12:56), and for a long while it appeared that this may be the only scoring action of the final period. That is until Dan Echeverri got hold of the puck and drove to the U Conn net with mere seconds remaining in regulation. With only two seconds remaining on the clock, Ecehverri sank his fourth goal of the game to bring FGCU to a grand 5-2 victory on Saturday and a sweep in their series against U Conn.
FGCU D3 Eagles prepares to host Florida Atlantic University tomorrow to close out a great weekend of hockey. Puck drops at 12:15 PM for a matinee on Germain Arena ice.