The 13th-ranked Wingate Bulldogs scored the last two goals of the third quarter and the only two goals of the fourth on Friday, escaping with a 9-8 home victory over the 18th-ranked Florida Tech Panthers in the season opener for both teams.
Goalie Daniel Flock made 11 saves for the Panthers in the loss, but the third quarter proved costly, as he gave up goals to Seth Grimwood and Alex Llerandi 37 seconds apart, with the Llerandi hat-trick goal hitting the back of the net with one second left in the quarter and cutting what had been an 8-5 Panthers lead to 8-7, heading into the final 15 minutes.
Llerandi got the scoring started 2:39 into the game and that was followed by Gary Pierpont’s first of two goals in the game, giving the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead. Redshirt junior Cole Evans scored the first goal of the season for the Panthers with 6:14 to go in the quarter, only to see Wingate score less than two minutes later and take a 3-1 lead into the second quarter.
Llernardi started the second period the way he started the first, with a goal 1:20 into the third, giving Wingate a 4-1 lead. Graduate student Carson Clough got that goal back with 13:09 to go in the half. Senior Tajee Mobley cut the Wingate lead to 4-3, with his first of two goals on the day. Clough was credited with the assist.
Junior Brett Pohlmeyer tied the game with 5:01 to go in the half. Grimwood snapped the three-goal run by the Panthers when he beat Flock with three minutes left before the break. That made it a 5-4 game as the teams headed to the locker room.
Mobley scored 1:57 into the third, tying the game and that sparked a four-goal run for the Panthers with freshman Mason Ostrowski, junior Logan Sweeney and sophomore Reid Chaconas scoring consecutive goals, giving Florida Tech an 8-5 lead with 4:26 left in the quarter.
To their credit, Wingate played to the final whistle in the quarter, getting the late goals by Grimwood and Llerandi, closing the gap to one, as the fourth quarter got underway.
Pierpont tied the game with 11:11 left and the eventual game-winner came from Godwin with 2:23 left in the game. Sweeney got a shot off with 1:40 left that was saved by Wingate goalkeeper Jacob Ormond. It was one of his six saves on the day.
There were some late penalties called on both sides, but nothing led to a goal.
The Panthers were outshot 34-27 in this contest and lost the ground-ball battle 28-24. Senior Lance Pavlina was a big reason that Florida Tech won 10-of-18 faceoffs, but they also turned the ball over 22 times.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Wingate Box Score
Florida Tech (0-1) will open their home season next Sunday, February 18 against Young Harris. The opening faceoff is set for 1:00 p.m. at Florida Tech Panther Stadium.