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Westminster Thwarts Panthers Comeback

The Florida Tech Panthers stepped on the gas pedal in the fourth quarter Thursday, scoring six goals in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late as they fell to Westminster 15-12 in a men’s lacrosse matchup at Panther Field inside the Olin Complex.

Westminster (4-4) outscored the Panthers 10-4 over the second and third quarters combined, keeping Florida Tech goalie Vincent Palermo on his toes.

While the 15 goals are a decent amount to give up, Palermo kept his team in this game. He made 14 saves, accounting for Westminster’s 29 shots on goal against him. The Griffins had 45 shots overall. Raymond Francois played the final 2:13 in goal for the Panthers, registering one save.

Sean Edwards manned the net for the Griffins, as the Panthers reeled off 50 shots in his direction, 26 were on goal.

Gabe Mein led the Griffins with five points on three goals and two assists. Jake Auger had a hat trick of his own, and Spencer Whinery added two goals, including the final Westminster goal of the day with 2:13 left. Jacob Taylor and Mike Spaeth scored two each.

Chandler Hake (four goals) and Tommy Bowser (three goals), and Reid Chaconas (two goals) were the leading scorers for the Panthers.

It took Auger 47 seconds to get Westminster on the board in this one. The Panthers came from Hake with 11:09 to go. Auger would score again with 3:25 left in the opening quarter, and Taylor made it 3-1 with 15.6 left in the quarter.

The Panthers (2-6) got one back with 6.1 left off the stick of Bowser, assisted by Luke Palmisano. That made it 3-2 at the end of the quarter.

Westminster got the first goal of the second quarter with 34 seconds gone by before Chaconas got the Panthers to within one with 11:43 left in the half. That’s when the Griffins got on a roll, reeling off four straight goals and went up 8-3 with 4:23 left in the quarter.

Chaconas would cut the lead in half with 3:16 to go, but Spaeth answered with just 2:03 left in the half. That gave Westminster a 9-4 lead at the break.

Bowser was quick out of the gate in the third quarter, scoring 24 seconds in, cutting the Griffins lead to 9-5.

Mein scored two of Westminster’s next three goals, giving the visitors a 12-5 lead. Hake would break that run with a goal 1:06 left in the quarter. Whinery scored 14 seconds later, to make it 13-6 heading into a wild fourth quarter.

Hake started the Panthers down the road to a comeback 45 seconds into the fourth quarter. Brennan Banks got the assist and it was 13-7. After a Bowser goal cut the lead to five, Hake scored again 1:08 later, making it 13-9. Palmisano got the Panthers to within shouting distance with 8:29 left, making it 13-10.

Taylor and Whinery scored back-to-back goals in a span of 2:08 to put this one out of reach, 15-10 with 2:13 to go.

Brandon Harry scored his first goal of the season for the Panthers with one-minute left and Matt Lecompte followed with 41.5 left, making a three-goal difference at the end of the day.

For more info: Westminster @ Florida Tech Box Score

The Panthers turned the ball over 17 times to 15 for the Griffins. Florida Tech only had one in that fourth quarter, while Westminster had five. Clears ended with the visitors going 19-for-20, while FT was 12-of-14.

Florida Tech dominated in ground balls 54-34, and faceoffs with a 20-9 advantage, with Ethan Tosheff winning 18-of-26 and getting an assist. David Demeter went 2-for-3 at the x.

The Panthers’ next game is scheduled for Saturday, March 14 against Embry-Riddle. With the Coronavirus canceling many sporting events around the country, time will tell if this or other games will be played. We will update you on any decision made by Florida Tech, as soon as it is made public.