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USF Ice Bulls Fall in Home Opener 3-1 to C.

Missed opportunities were the story of the night

USF Hockey

Note: sorry this is late. For once, don’t blame Carl, blame Jamie and Collin.

The USF hockey team dropped their home opener to C. 3-1 on Thursday night at Florida Hospital Center Ice in Wesley Chapel.

USF (2-1) was coming off a hot opening weekend, defeating the University of Tampa Spartans back-to-back nights 4-2 and 5-2. Unfortunately it didn’t carry over as the Ice Bulls missed chance after chance, unable to beat C. goalie Benjamin Thibault for most of the game.

USF easily outplayed C. in the first period, but couldn’t seem to fire a puck on net when one-on-one with the goalie. C. was on the board 1:30 into the game on a confusing goal that left a couple fans miffed, thinking USF goalie Samuel Coleman had made the save. The Knights added a clear second at 11:55, serving to fire up USF for the remainder of the period.

The second period saw C. player Joseph Zanicchi ejected for a head contact game misconduct. In the ensuing 5-on-3 power play (C. was also serving a tripping minor), Dylan Taylor got the Bulls on the board, flying down the left side of the ice and sniping the top left corner of the net on the rush. However, momentum would shift back against the Ice Bulls, and C. found the net a third time when USF was unable to clear the puck on a C. 4-on-3 power play.

USF didn’t have the spark during the third period that seemed to drive them through the first two periods, but they had enough fire to respond in several small scrums broke out through the last 20 minutes. Most notably, with just over 2 minutes, Dylan Taylor was fighting for space in front of the net when the defender covering him ripped Taylor’s gloves off and started swinging. Taylor held up his hands and backed away from the fight, but attempted to sweep the legs of the C. player as he went to pick up his gloves. Taylor was given a game misconduct for his trouble.

The Ice Bulls didn’t have the deadly edge that scored them 9 goals in their opening two games, but fan shouldn’t be too worried. The Ice Bulls still manged 34 shots on the night, many of them from excellent position (C. tallied 45 shots on the night). After a nightmare start last season, the Ice Bulls seem to be in a good position to make another run in the ACHA Regional Tournament.

The Ice Bulls travel to C. tomorrow night at 8:45 before two home games vs the USA Women’s National Team next week on Friday and Saturday.