Sweeney’s Late Tally Keeps Panthers Streak Alive

Daniel Flock – Photo credit: James Ragan Photography

Logan Sweeney‘s fourth goal of the game came with 10.2 seconds remaining and gave the Florida Tech Panthers a 15-14 win over Florida Southern in a Sunshine State Conference clash. The victory is the eighth in a row for the Panthers and they are now 6-0 in the SSC. The win streak and conference win total are now the best this program has ever seen.

Sweeney was the only Panther with more than two goals, but he had a lot of help as Mason Ostrowski, Lance Pavlina, Reid Chaconas and Carson Clough all had two goals each. Tyler Covey, Justin Williams, and Matt Weinstein rounded out the Panthers scoring.

This was a back-and-forth tilt throughout with the Panthers having to survive a couple mini-runs from the Moccasins. The last one included the home team scoring the first three goals of the fourth quarter. Florida Southern outscored the Panthers 4-2 in the final 15 minutes.

The first quarter saw the Panthers jump out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Chaconas and Sweeney against Mocs’ starting goalie Mike Greco. That was the end of the day for Greco, who was replaced by Matt Stocks with 12:41 to go in the opening stanza.

That change seemed to light a fire under FSC, as they scored three straight goals to take a 3-2 lead. Pavlina won the ensuing faceoff and scored with 8:48 to go, just three seconds after the Moccasins took the lead.

Joe Appio and Lucas Claude who scored during the first run scored back-to-back goals of the Mocs and gave them a 5-3 lead. At that point, the Mocs had 10 shots with nine of them on cage against Florida Tech netminder Daniel Flock.

Sweeney and FSC’s Cam DeLisle, who was playing in his first college game, traded goals, giving the Moccasins a 6-4 lead with 2:04 to go in the quarter. DeLisle finished with two goals and two assists in an impressive debut. His assist came on a behind-the-back goal by Claude, that made it 7-4.

Florida Tech (9-4, 6-0 SSC) took the momentum back with a late goal by Ostrowski, with 7.5 seconds left in the quarter, closing the gap to 7-5.

The second quarter is where this game turned with the Panthers scoring six of the seven goals. Clough got his team off to a great start, scoring the first two goals and tying the game at seven. Sweeney would score his hat-trick goal 31 seconds later and the Panthers regained the lead 8-7 with 9:18 to go.

The Panthers got a man-up chance when Liam Winwood was flagged for unnecessary roughness with 4:44 to go and 57 seconds later, Ostrowski scored the man-up goal, giving the Panthers a 9-7 lead. The four-goal run by the Panthers was broken up by Colin Bayer with 3:42 left and it was 9-8.

After Weinstein scored with 2:23 to go, giving the Panthers their two-goal lead back, the Mocs’ called timeout with 26.2 seconds left, hoping to stave off a late Panthers goal. That move backfired as Williams snuck one past Stocks, who watched as it trickled just over the goal line, giving the Panthers an 11-8 halftime lead.

Liam Winwood brought FSC right back in it, starting the third quarter with two goals. Pavlina, as he did earlier, took the ensuing faceoff raced downfield and rocketed it past Stocks,  making it 12-10, with 6:34 left in the stanza. Covey would score with 3:59 left, stretching the lead to three. That is how these teams would enter the fourth quarter.

The Moccasins (7-7, 2-4 SSC) did not go quietly. DeLisle scored his second of the day and Appio would get his hat trick goal, cutting the Panthers lead to 13-12 with 12:44 to go. Kevin Dyer finished the three-goal run, tying things up 13-13 with 10:58 to go.

After Chaconas and Alex Dagen traded goals about 45 seconds apart, the Panthers called timeout with 40 seconds remaining, hoping to get one last opportunity. That’s exactly what they did, as they came out of the timeout and after a few passes, the ball ended up in the stick of Sweeney, who sent the decisive goal into the back of the net with 10.2 seconds left.

For more info: Florida Tech @ Florida Southern Box Score 

The Mocs outshot FIT 43-37 and Flock was under fire all day. Despite giving up the 14 goals, he came up with 15 saves. Pavlina scored twice off the faceoff and he won 19-of-33. Ground balls were even at 31. The Panthers did turn the ball over 19 times, but in the end, it didn’t matter, as they came away with the victory.

The Panthers will conclude the regular season at home next Saturday, with a crucial conference game against the Saint Leo Lions, who play Tampa later tonight. The Lions are 11-1 going into that game and they are 5-0 in the SSC. Saturday’s faceoff is scheduled for noon at the Olin Complex.