Florida Tech holds off agressive MIT rally late in second period for 9-8 victory
MELBOURNE, Fla. -- Florida Tech jumped out to a four-goal lead against MIT on Friday, but the Engineers scored six of the next nine goals to trail 7-6 at halftime. The Panthers were able to hold off MIT in the second half to earn their fifth victory of the season by a score of 9-8 at Hustler Stadium.
Florida Tech (5-7) scored four goals during the first eight minutes of the first quarter to take a 4-0 lead. Senior Matt Durand scored back-to-back unassisted goals to give the Panthers a 2-0 early lead. Durand’s first goal came just 57 seconds into regulation.
Freshman Brian Bacarella followed Durand’s act with his own pair of goals at the 10:10 and 7:11 marks of the first quarter to push FIT’s lead to 4-0. Sophomore Andrew Conley set up Bacarella’s first goal, while sophomore Mike Marshner fed the freshman on the Panthers’ fourth goal.
MIT (1-5) cut the deficit to three goals when Luke Verdi scored an unassisted goal with 4:28 left in the first quarter.
Conley pushed FIT’s lead to 5-1 with 1:09 left in the quarter, but the Engineers’ leading scorer Paul Orrson scored with nine seconds remaining in the quarter to cut the lead back to three.
Forty-four seconds into the second quarter, Conley set up freshman Nick Brown for his second goal of the season to extend the Panthers’ lead to 6-2.
Five minutes later, sophomore Christian Isola netted his sixth goal of the season to give FIT its largest lead of the game at 7-2.
The Engineers scored four consecutive goals during the final six minutes of the first half to cut the Panthers’ lead to 7-6 at halftime. MIT scored a man-down goal with 1:05 remaining in the half, and then scored nine seconds later off the faceoff to cut the deficit to one goal.
Junior Evan Ryan gave FIT a two-goal lead with an unassisted goal with 12:26 remaining in the third quarter. Six minutes later, MIT’s Orrson completed a hat trick to bring the Engineers within one goal of the Panthers at 8-7.
Freshman Alex Carlson recorded his 11th assist of the season with 2:34 left in the third quarter to set up Marshner for his seventh goal of the season.
MIT found the fourth quarter’s only goal with 9:59 remaining, but was unable to find the equalizer to give Marshner the game-winner and FIT its fifth win of the season.
Chris Fellini recorded nine faceoff wins and eight ground balls in the victory. Senior Mason Cook made his first career start at midfield after playing his first season in goal for the Panthers.
Durand and Bacarella each finished with two goals, while Conley and Marshner both recorded a goal and an assist.
Junior Eric Biller (5-7) recorded 11 saves in the victory. Biller now has recorded double-digit save totals in 10 games this season.