Photo: Reid Chaconas – Credit: Florida Tech Athletics
The Florida Tech men’s lacrosse team saved the best for last. The Panthers beat Saint Leo 16-8 Saturday in the 2021 season finale, saving their best offensive effort of the season for Senior Day.
Fifteen seniors were honored before today’s game including all-time leading scorer Reid Chaconas and starting goalie Kyle Renz. Florida Tech also recognized four players who missed their Senior Day in 2020. Those players were Rob Filipow, Thomas Gribben, Ray Francois, and Nick Fornadel.
The only hat trick for the Panthers came off the stick of Bennett Duffy, who had three goals coming into the game. Chaconas had two goals and an assist, Luke Jayne had two goals, as did Andy Stump. The Panthers got single tallies from Brandon Harry, Justin Williams, Chandler Hake, Matt Gutmann, Danny Lowe, Zach Rozgonyi, and Ryan Lepp.
It took 1:25 for the Panthers to get on the board with Jayne beating SLU netminder Gunnar Luckoski. It was the first of a five-goal outburst as the Panthers ambushed the Lions early.
After a big save by Renz, the Panthers came up the field with Kyle Sergio finding Harry, giving the Panthers a 2-0 lead. Stump and Duffy would tally to make it 4-0 and Chaconas would score on the extra-man opportunity to make it a 5-0 game with 6:09 to go in the opening period.
With that goal by Chaconas, the Panthers held a 13-1 advantage in shots, including a 7-1 lead in shots on goal.
Saint Leo’s first goal of the day came from Carson Salvo, as the visitors ended the first period with a three-goal spurt, closing the opening stanza with a 5-3 lead for the Panthers.
The Panthers (3-5) opened the second just the way they opened the first, as they reeled off five straight goals. All five goals came from five different scorers, with Duffy, Gutmann, Stump, Hake, and Williams all getting in on the act.
After a timeout and the Panthers up 10-3, Saint Leo made a goalie change with Chase Strait taking over. Kadin Schillo did score a goal for the Lions to make it 10-4 with 3:52 to go. Tech had a good chance to add to the lead with 45 seconds left as they went on the man-up, but three shots went wide.
The Panthers took 31 shots in the first half with 19 on goal. SLU had 11 of their 14 shots on goal. Renz made nine saves in the half, while Saint Leo had seven.
Saint Leo also has a Justin Williams on their roster and he scored the only goal of the third quarter to make it a 10-5 game.
Reece Hrycan opened the scoring in the fourth off a feed from Williams to make it 10-6. Duffy’s hat trick goal came a few minutes later to make it 11-6. Chaconas got his second of the day shortly thereafter to double the Panthers’ lead. Chaconas finished with 20 goals on the season and 106 in his decorated Florida Tech career. He ended with 131 total points.
With the Panthers up six goals and 7:19 left on the clock, senior Jake Hahn finished the game in goal. Jayne would score his second of the day with 3:11 left. Lowe would follow just over a minute later to make it 14-6 and after a Saint Leo goal, Rozgonyi would get his 15th of the season with 50 seconds left.
Saint Leo’s last goal of the day came from Matt Shand and Lepp, playing in his final game for the Panthers scored his first of the year with 2.4 seconds to go.
For more info: Saint Leo @ Florida Tech Box Score
The Panthers held a 52-31 shot advantage with 31 on goal. Florida Tech goaltenders had 12 saves and they were 18-for-23 on clears, while Saint Leo was 13-for-16.
The Panthers finish the 2021 season 3-5, with all three wins coming at home. They finished 1-3 in the conference. We wish all the seniors the best and look forward to covering the Panthers again in 2022.