The Florida Tech Panthers gave the 13th-ranked Mount Olive Trojans all they could handle Saturday, before falling by the score of 9-6.
Vincent Palermo got the start for the Panthers, allowing nine goals and registering 10 saves. The Panthers had 18 shots on goal and outshot the Trojans 33-31 in this game. Mount Olive goalie Andrew Avarello made 12 saves.
Reid Chaconas scored his first of two goals 6:50 into the contest, giving the Panthers a 1-0 lead. The Trojans then scored three straight goals, two of those off the stick of Connor Watson, giving the home team a 3-1 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Tim Collins drove one past Palermo 36 seconds into the second quarter, upping the lead to 4-1.
Goals by Chandler Hake, Tristan Arias and the second of the day by Chaconas erased the deficit and tied the game 4-4. Chaconas scored with 16 seconds left in the half, and it was a new game at the break.
Connor Watson scored his third of the day with 4:53 gone by in the third quarter and that gave the Trojans a 5-4 lead. That goal was followed by another Collins tally, making it 6-4. Justin Williams got the Panthers back to within one when he scored with 1:55 left in the quarter.
The Panthers (2-4) have been hurt at times by late goals at the end of quarters this season, and it happened again Saturday when Blake Tallon made it a 7-5 game with 12 seconds left in the third.
The Panthers were outscored 2-1 in the fourth quarter, with the only goal coming from Justin Williams. At the time, that made it 8-6, but Collins completed his hat-trick with 7:45 left in the game and that would be the final tally of the afternoon by either squad.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Mount Olive Box Score
Each team turned the ball over 18 times, and Mount Olive was a perfect 28-of-28 on clears. The Panthers were 20-of-27. The Trojans edged the Panthers in ground balls 21-20, while Florida Tech held a 12-7 advantage in faceoffs.
With this one in the books, the Panthers’ six-game road trip to start the season has finally come to a close. Florida Tech will open its home season on Monday against Saint Anselm on the campus at the Olin Complex. The start time is set for 4:00 p.m.