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USF Hockey Beats South Carolina, Liberty University, Advances To ACHA Nationals

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After a cold start to their season, the Ice Bulls got hot during tournament time to advance to the ACHA DIII National Championships

The USF Ice Bulls after their 6-3 win over Liberty University, where they advanced to the ACHA DIII National Championships
Taylor Jenkins

The USF Ice Bulls went 2-0 this weekend at the ACHA South Regional Tournament, beating South Carolina 1-0 in overtime on Friday night and Liberty University 6-3 Saturday afternoon to advance to the ACHA DIII National Championships.

Freshman goalie Samuel Coleman was the star of the weekend, turning away all 31 shots from USC, and 30 of 33 shots by Liberty. The freshman was particularly hot against USC on Friday night, making several excellent saves to shut the Gamecocks out (who’s twitter handle, btw, is @cockhockey, the most unfortunate twitter handle of all time).

Friday night forward Stephen DeMarco won the game for the Bulls 5 minutes even into OT (USF beating USC in OT seems to be a recurring theme). After a USC turnover at center ice, DeMarco screamed into the offensive zone and shot a laser over the left shoulder of the keeper to keep the season alive.

On Saturday, the goals were plentiful. Weston Moon put USF on the board first just 3:07 into the game with the first power play of the afternoon. The first period would end 1-0 despite both teams having several power play chances.

The second period had several notable moments. Liberty would finally cash in on a power play 6:16 into the second period, leveling the score at 1-1. Logan Sheehan would score the second goal for USF at 11:01, but Liberty would level it once again at 14:11.

A few minutes later, #72 Kyle Jassman for Liberty took a simple high sticking minor. However, disagreeing with the call, swatted the puck down the ice as he skated to the penalty box and earned himself a 10 minute misconduct. USF took the lead for good on the ensuing power play, courtesy of Keny Weightman at 18:09 in the second period.

Hue Baveystock started the scoring early in the third for the Bulls, redirecting a long pass from Michael Budd past the Liberty keeper for what would be the game winner just 1:22 into the period.

Liberty would pull one goal back at 8:55, but would only find the penalty box after their third goal.

After calling a timeout with just over two minutes left, Liberty had a bad 30 seconds, conceding an empty net to Lulas Medo at 18:17 and picking up a second 10 minute misconduct. Budd added more insult to the final scoreline with another goal, beating the goalie at 19:14 for the final score of 6-3. Apparently Liberty’s Jeremy Martin took exception to the sixth goal and attempted to fight an Ice Bull with 26 seconds left in the game, earning himself a game misconduct. Update: There was a fourth 10 minute misconduct assessed to Liberty, it occurred right after Budd’s goal at 19:14.

The last 26 seconds ended without incident, earning the Bulls a place in the ACHA National Championships on March 14th in Columbus, Ohio. Weston Moon had the best day of all Ice Bulls vs Liberty, registering a goal and two assists, while Friday’s hero DeMarco registered two assists.

USF will be the #4 seed from the south region, playing in a pool against Pacific #3 Colorado State, Atlantic #2 Farmingdale State College, and North #1 Calvin College. The Bulls have been hot in tournament play this year after an extremely poor start to the season, and look to continue their streak of upsets in the ACHA National Championships.

USF Points

Vs USC

DeMarco: goal

Sheehan: assist

Vs Liberty

Moon: goal, two assists

Budd: goal, assist

Sheehan: goal, assist

DeMarco: two assists

Medo: goal

Baveystock: goal

Rhoads: assist