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Panthers Comeback Falls Short at Tampa

Jan Hlavica  – Photo credit: James Ragan Photography
The Florida Tech Panthers (9-3, 6-2 SSC) erased a two-goal deficit in the second half Saturday, only to have the Spartans Felipe DeSousa score his second goal of the night with 1:16 remaining in the contest, giving host Tampa a 3-2 victory. 
The game-winner was a bookend goal for DeSousa who got the scoring started just 7:55 into the match, giving his team an early 1-0 lead. 
Tampa took six shots in that first half, with Florida Tech goalie Chris Page making two saves on three shots on goal. Tampa keeper Jake Richards was only forced to make one save on four Florida Tech shots. 
The Spartans (6-3-2, 5-2-2 SSC) got their second goal of the first half off the foot of Viktor Strand with 32:34 having elapsed. 
The Panthers stormed back in the second half, taking 12 shots and converting on two of them. Just over 14 minutes into the stanza, Josh Thomas took his third corner in a short span. Jan Hlavica got it to Solomon Wheatley, who beat Richards and closed the gap to 2-1. 
Thomas would get a goal of his own in the 78th minute, with the assist going to Brandon Smalley. That looked like it was going to force the game into overtime, but the Spartans had other ideas. Romario Grant found DeSousa, who rifled it past Page and put the Spartans up to stay, 3-2. 
Florida Tech outshot the Panthers in this game 16-8 and had seven shots on goal to the Spartans six, but it’s the final one that counts and that went the way of Tampa. 
The Panthers road trip continues Tuesday, when they take on Rollins College in Winter Park. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. 

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