GAINESVILLE, Fla. ––– In a game filled with copious opportunities to take charge, Palm Beach Atlantic was unable take advantage and fell to the University of Florida, 11-7. Despite fifteen shots and 5:30 of man-up time in the fourth quarter, the Sailfish (1-1) could not knock off the Gators (2-0) in a terse environment.
The Gators, who were champions of the SELC’s upper division in 2010, jumped out to a lead in the first quarter and controlled the tempo of the game early. PBA, which came up empty on its first six shots in the contest, finally connected at 8:56 of the second quarter on a goal by Ryan Talks (Palm Beach, Fla./St. Andrew’s) from Jesse Vanatta (Springfield, Va./West Springfield). In spite of the slow start and rumination of last year’s 15-6 loss to Florida, the offense plugged away, scoring at 2:42 and 0:55 an unassisted goal from Bobby Hantske (Annapolis, Md./Southern) and an own-goal on a failed clear from Florida’s Matt Rivers.
In a game where Florida dominated the face-off chances (66%), Palm Beach Atlantic was able to mitigate their opportunities over time and create several opportunities of their own.
Despite trailing 8-3 at halftime, Palm Beach Atlantic cut into the lead with two goals from sophomore Colin Price (Fairfax Station, VA/Lake Braddock), the second coming from a Hantske assist. Into the third quarter and carrying into the fourth, the Gators and Sailfish battled tightly, notwithstanding a lack of six-on-six offense. In the second half, PBA was called for 6:30 of penalties, while UF was awarded 12:00.
In goal, senior Cory Ender (Putnam Valley, N.Y./Putnam Valley) was tremendous throughout, stopping 24 shots and contributing another stellar performance. On the other end, Rivers was similarly huge, making several key saves including a behind-the-back doorstep stop on Dave Schultz (Annapolis, Md./St. Mary’s) midway through the third quarter. Schultz would later see retribution, scoring on the extra-man opportunity from Joe Ciringione (Merrick, N.Y./Sanford H. Calhoun) by way of a one-minute personal foul on William Daniel for an unbuckled chinstrap.
Trailing with 3:18 remaining in the game, the Palm Beach Atlantic bench called for a stick check on #34, Alex Breslin. Upon confirmation of the call and a three minute non-releasable penalty assessed, PBA attempted to close the gap. In the man-up session, several posts were hit and shots flew wide, though the Sailfish did cash in at 2:31 with another goal from Bobby Hantske (assist from Ciringione). Overall, Palm Beach Atlantic was 3/15 in extra-man opportunities.
PBA returns to action on Friday, February 17 against Florida Atlantic University. The Owls (0-1) come into the game following a 19-5 loss at Florida Gulf Coast University. The opening face-off is set for 5:30 p.m in Boca Raton, Florida. On Saturday, the Sailfish will host Valdosta State University at 7:00pm.