February 15th and 16th brought the ACHA Regional Championships to South Carolina this year for the South Region and our own FGCU D3 Men’s Eagles were there to represent. They would face Wilmington, NC Seahawks and the Ole Mississippi Rebels to advance in this tournament and hopefully to the Nationals slated for March 12th – 16th this year.
The ACHA South Regional Championships were hosted at the Plex Indoor Sports rink in Irmo, South Carolina. http://plexindoorsports.com/irmoice/about
FGCU D3 went into this tournament on a record of 18 wins and 9 losses for this regular season and after watching this squad play on home ice for twelve weeks, they were ready to take things to the next level of advancement. Coach Lendino held this squad together and focused rather well over the season of play and it showed on the ice.
The first match for our D3 Eagles was against the Wilmington, NC Seahawks on Friday evening the 15th of February. The Seahawks came into the tournament at a record of 14 and 9 and ranked only two slots behind FGCU in the rankings in their region.
FGCU was indeed ready, as with the drop of the puck they ruled the opening period. Straight off the face off at (19:23) when (#3) John Goddard sank a goal past Calvin Stone in net for the Seahawks, letting them know we meant business! The momentum continued for FGCU throughout this opening period. The scoring rally was ongoing for FGCU, as (#10) Jordan Kolbert slapped one in the NC net at (9:57) and also (#27) Gabriel Lamontagne scored one last goal at (3:53) to secure a three goal lead, headed into the first intermission.
This level of performance from a squad that worked on the penalty kill for the most part is what good, winning hockey is all about. FGCU did take three of the four whistles in this period, as well as were out shot by two.
(#29) Kyle Torres was on point in the FGCU net most apparently, as the second period remained in the same scoring circumstance as neither team was successful in scoring the second period. Kyle faced a total of 21 shots in two periods and held his team to a shut out possibility heading into the third period. This fan wishes she could have been there, as I do enjoy watching Kyle in net on good days and bad. Hats off to Kyle and our D3 defense in this performance!
The third period was when the Seahawks finally broke through the barriers FGCU had successfully maintained up until then. The Wilmington Seahawks sank the first puck past (#29) Torres at (16:56) and one last one at (3:00) to pull them to within one goal to tie this game and force overtime possibly.
The game would not end in a one goal decision though, Wilmington pulled Stone from their net for an extra attacker on the ice; however, it would not be enough. With only (0:23) remaining in regulation, (#26) Michael Piatek would sink an empty net goal to seal a two goal and one game victory in their debut at the 2013 ACHA Regional Championships.
The FGCU Eagles prepared then to take on their next opponent in this tournament, the Ole Mississippi Rebels awaited a 3:00 puck drop the next coming afternoon.