Melbourne became upset city on Wednesday, as the Florida Tech Panthers defeated the number eight team in the country, the Lynn Fighting Knights, 2-1.
This was a huge bounce-back win, for the Panthers who were upset by Barry on Saturday, who at the time had one win on the season. The Panthers who were ranked 12th coming into that game, dropped out of the top 25 because of that loss, so Wednesday’s win over Lynn was huge.
The game started about 95 minutes late due to rain at Rick Stottler Field, but once things got underway, the Panthers were up to the challenge. The defense pitched a shutout in the first half, only allowing the Fighting Knights one shot and that was not on goal.
Florida Tech (9-2, 6-1 SSC) got on the board 11:55 in when Jan Hlavica took a long-range shot and that Lynn goaltender Alexander Roth looked poised to bat it over the top of the net, but he couldn’t corral it and it snuck in behind him from about 35 yards out. It was only the sixth goal that Lynn has allowed as a team this season. With that, the Panthers were up 1-0.
That score held at the half, as the Panthers outshot Lynn 6-1 and had four shots on goal against Roth. Florida Tech goaltender Christopher Page was not pressed into action in that first half. Florida Tech also took five corners in that first half, while Lynn was shutout in that category as well.
The Panthers couldn’t rest on that one goal, as the Fighting Knights have proven to be a second half team this season. They came into the game with 24 goals scored in 11 games, 19 of those goals were scored in the second half of their contests.
Whether Florida Tech knew that or not, they did exactly what they needed to do, scoring 3:09 into the second half. Roth made a huge mistake coming out of his net to clear the ball out and Evan Enders chested the ball down, booting it into a wide-open net and giving the Panthers a 2-0 lead.
The Panthers defense continued to shine for much of the second half, as Page didn’t make his first save until the 64:04 mark. A corner by Alun Webb followed and that was headed down by Martin Drobits, forcing Page into action again just 42 seconds later.
Lynn (9-2-1, 5-2-1 SSC) got a free-kick with 13 minutes remaining, but the Panthers wall kept that ball from ever getting to Page and the shutout remained in tact.
With time winding down and the Fighting Knights pressing, Simon Kraemer got behind the defense and accepted a crossing pass from Elliott Legg. Kraemer put it in the back of the net with 1:50 to go in the game, making it a 2-1 contest.
Florida Tech was able to kill the clock and hang on, snapping a five-match losing streak to the Fighting Knights. With the win, the Panthers moved into second place in the Sunshine State Conference behind Palm Beach Atlantic, who is 11-0-2 overall and 6-0-1 in the SSC.
For more info: Lynn @ Florida Tech Box Score
The Panthers will travel to Tampa on Saturday to take on the Spartans. That match gets underway at 7:00 p.m.
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