Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Hockey splits weekend series against University of Tampa

CW / Elijah McWhorter
Alabama forward Evan Brown skates towards the puck against Tampa.

Despite its triumphant 3-2 win Friday evening, the Alabama Frozen Tide could not maintain its momentum against the University of Tampa, the No. 2 in the Amateur Athletic Union Saturday, ultimately succumbing to a 1-7 defeat, leaving its last home game of the season as a loss.  

Friday night (3-2)  

The first few minutes of the game passed without any goals from either team, but Tampa’s center Jack Manware finally broke the scoreless streak with a goal toward the end of the eighth minute. The Frozen Tide fell short for this period, letting in another goal by Tampa’s left defenseman Austin Cook, who finished the scoring for the first period and Tampa’s scoring for the rest of the night.  

The second period was a different story for the Frozen Tide, who came out revitalized and ready to fight against the Spartans. Within minutes, forward Evan Brown scored on Tampa with assistance from center Chandelier Bilodeau and left wing Greg Simmons.  

The rest of the second period was a back-and-forth battle between the two teams as the Frozen Tide continued to build on the defense the team had been working to improve all season. 

“I definitely think the defense is stepping up,” forward Cal Mansfield said in an interview after winning against Illinois. “They’re bringing a bunch of energy that hasn’t been brought to any games yet this year.”  

Goalie Joe Hughes, a cornerstone of the defense, delivered a standout performance with an impressive 35 saves, outshining Tampa’s goalie, Shea Grant, who managed 26. This performance is what led the Frozen Tide to its fourth victory of the season.  

But it was not all improvement this game; the team battled with penalties as it clashed with Tampa. Although the team is used to being the most aggressive on the ice, it was obvious that Tampa matched the Crimson Tide’s energy.  

Five Frozen Tide players spent a total of 20 minutes in the penalty box, including forward Parker King, who had a 10-minute major for game misconduct. Tampa also had five players spend time in the penalty box for a combined 10 minutes, at two minutes each.  

The teams frequently clashed with many fights and scuffles, including Tampa’s defenseman Will Fortescue throwing both his stick and gloves onto the ice and returning to the bench.  

However, there was a shift for the Frozen Tide between the second and third periods where the team calmed down and got back to work, resulting in only one penalty for the third period on Simmons for cross-checking.  

“We just calmed down and realized penalties were our issue,” forward Nate Biron said. “We help each other relax; we keep it loose in the locker room. Like our coach says, it’s a loose focus. We can dial it up when we need to, but most of the time, we’re just loose, joking around and having fun.” 

As the minutes on the clock turned into seconds, the score remained 1-2 in favor of Tampa. With just 22 seconds left in regular gameplay, forward Jenson Lopez was able to break out and score a goal on Tampa to send the game into overtime.  

Although for some teams, the thought of overtime might be frightening, this is not the first or even second time this team has taken a game into overtime this season. For head coach Phil Tesoriero, he said he had faith in his team.  

“I wasn’t nervous at all,” Tesoriero said. “I told the guys, just keep doing what we’ve worked on, and good things will happen.”  

Tesoriero took the risk of pulling Hughes out of the goal and playing another forward on offense, a calculated risk that proved to be just what the team needed to bring home another win. 

Lopez was again able to get a goal for the Frozen Tide, ending the game and securing the team’s fourth victory of the season.  

Saturday afternoon (1-7)  

With 12 penalties and seven goals scored on goalies Bryce Dunnigan and Hughes, it was a challenging night for the team. A loss of this magnitude against a team they had beaten the night before had yet to be seen this season. 

The Frozen Tide started strong, with forward Max Eckstein scoring with assistance from defenseman Ryan Mastustik, but this was the team’s only score of the game.  

The team doubled its penalties from the night before, with six players spending 30 minutes in the penalty box. King was ejected from the game after a heated argument with the referee ended in King yelling at him.  

“We know what our setbacks are constantly and what we need to do to build up and to be better,” Biron said. “So, we just learn what we made mistakes on today and be more consistent tomorrow.” 

In addition to the penalties, the team’s defense lost its usual shine. Despite Dunnigan taking the goalie position, Tampa managed to find its way past him. The defensemen needed to step up their efforts in stopping Tampa’s offense. Dunnigan made 25 saves, but six goals slipped through. Hughes, who took over in the final period, made nine saves but allowed one to get by, ultimately leaving the Spartans with a 6-point lead over the Frozen Tide. 

The Spartans found themselves struggling with penalties as well, accumulating a total of 13. This resulted in 10 players spending a combined 34 minutes in the penalty box, with forward John DiFilippo receiving a 10-minute major for misconduct.  

The game proved to be another physically demanding matchup for both teams, with numerous fights breaking out. Ultimately, Tampa pulled through and was able to take back the win from the Frozen Tide.  

“This team is very skilled,” Tesoriero said. “They’re very fast. I mean, they’re top of the AAU for a reason, they played a heck of a hockey game.”  

Although the team will end its home games for the season with a loss, there is always hope for what the rest of the season will hold. The team will travel to Chicago for a three-game series Nov. 17-19, and its next home game will be next semester, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m. CT. 

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