USF Ice Bulls Fall to Gulf Coast
Photo by Carl Wagenfohr
Brandon, FLA. - The division three Ice Bulls hung tough against Florida Gulf Coast's division two team Saturday night at the Ice Sports forum in Brandon, after the Eagles whipped them 10-0 the night before.
FGCU, the top ranked team in the ACHA D-II southeast region, and one of the top D-II teams in the nation, beat the Bulls 6-2.
Gulf Coast jumped on South Florida early, scoring three quick goals, and it appeared that the Bulls were on their way to another beating. But USF refused to fold, battled hard, and went into the second period down 3-0.
Connor Lyons scored the first Bull goal early in the second when USF forced a turnover in front of the Eagles net. Lyons picked up the loose puck and fired it past the FGCU goalie
Florida Gulf Coast scored a few minutes later to reestablish a three-goal lead at 4-1.
But USF didn't quit. Rick Merlo scored on a short-handed breakaway, cutting the Eagle lead to two, and suddenly FGCU found themselves in a game they hadn't planned on.
Early in the third, with the Ice Bulls still trailing 4-2, Lyons nearly scored again when he clanged the puck off the crossbar.
FGCU scored midway through the final period to take a 5-2 lead.
The Ice Bulls continued to battle hard, but couldn't manage another goal. Gulf Coast scored a power play goal with only one second remaining in the game to seal their 6-2 win.
USF's final home game of the season will be played on Saturday February 9th versus in-state rival University of Central Florida. Game time is 7:30pm at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon.
Post-season play begins the following weekend when the ACHA Division III South Regional tournament takes the ice in Duluth, Georgia from February 15-17.
Visit the Ice Bulls online at www.icebulls.org .
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