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FGCU Club Hockey Claws Past Kentucky Wildcats

Hannah Frazier @capturedbyhannahf

On Jan. 12 and 13, FGCU Division II club hockey was back in action for their second weekend of play in 2024. The Eagles welcomed the 15-5-0-1 University of Kentucky Wildcats, who entered this weekend ranked third in the latest ACHA Southeast rankings. In two blowout wins, the Eagles swept the Wildcats by the scores of 5-1 and 8-3.

The 19-2-1 Eagles came into the weekend after sweeping the Minnesota Golden Gophers the week before. This kept the Eagles on the top of the ACHA Southeast rankings to enter the games, which would determine who would be at the top in the next rankings.

Sophomore forward Adam Beauvais was the player of the weekend as he scored three goals and assisted on three goals, contributing to a total of six points over the weekend. The first of these goals came when the faceoff began in the first game, as he scored within the first two minutes of play. He was assisted by sophomores, forward Shayne Tomlinson, and defenseman Shane Romback to give FGCU a 1-0 lead.

This momentum continued throughout the first period as the Eagles closed it out with another goal by Beauvais on the power play. The first period was littered with penalties by the Wildcats as they countered the dominant Eagles’ offense with an aggressive defense. Four out of the six Wildcat penalties came in these first 20 minutes.

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FGCU’s dominance did not stop there, as graduate student and forward Wyatt Engelmann scored the first goal of the second period about six minutes in. The Eagles were able to control the pace of the game, as they kept possession of the puck on the Wildcats’ side of the ice.

The first penalty of the second period came from the University of Kentucky for boarding. This allowed sophomore forward Dylan Castello to score FGCU’s fourth goal of the game off of a power play opportunity. The Wildcats rallied back by scoring their first goal of the game. This made the score 4-1, giving the Eagles a three goal lead heading into the final period.

The third period was uneventful as both teams continued to drive the puck up and down the ice to no avail. FGCU closed out the period by scoring the last goal of the game about fourteen minutes in by junior forward Thomas Zebley to win, 5-1.

FGCU entered the second game of the weekend as they looked to carry the momentum from the day prior. One change the Eagles made between the games was at the goalie position, with graduate student Ryan Nussbaum going in for senior Wesley Swenson.

The first period began with both teams trading goals. Junior defenseman Holden Hertog scored the first goal of the period for the Eagles, but the Wildcats scored their first goal just a minute and a half later. 

FGCU rallied towards the end of the first period with their second goal of the game. Sophomore forward Jake Court punched in his first goal of the weekend to put the Eagles up 2-1. Although FGCU led by a goal, the Wildcats looked considerably better on defense than the day before, as they were able to stop breakaways down the ice on multiple occasions.

The second period was action-packed as it was filled with plenty of goals and penalties. Early on in the period, senior forward Jack Cohen scored a goal that gave FGCU a two goal advantage over Kentucky.

Both teams continued to go back and forth, scoring two goals each. Kentucky was called for a penalty early in the period for holding. Castello was then able to cash in with a goal on the power play. Hertog had a short-handed goal as well while Kentucky was on the power play.

FGCU ended the period with all the momentum, as captain senior forward Spence Van Tiem scored a short-handed goal to bring the advantage up to 6-3. The game was all but over for the Kentucky Wildcats as they needed a miracle in the third period to get back into this game.

Frustration boiled over at the end of third period as the Wildcats knew the game was lost. Kentucky obtained a penalty for roughing as well as an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty due to a fight breaking out early in the early minutes of the period.

The Eagles rounded out the third period by scoring two more goals before time was up. Cohen scored his second goal of the game off of a power play. Beauvais then scored his third goal of the weekend to give the Eagles an 8-3 victory. This improves FGCU’s record on the season to 21-2-1.

FGCU will be on the road this coming weekend for the Miami Showcase. But the Eagles will return home on Jan. 26 and 27 to play the Miami University RedHawks.

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About the Contributor
Jeffrey Hrunka
Jeffrey Hrunka, Eagle News Assistant Sports Editor
Jeffrey Hrunka is a junior double majoring in communications and journalism with a concentration in public relations. Jeffrey is from Fort Myers where his interest in sports journalism originated after falling in love with the world of motorsports. When he’s not working for Eagle News, he is usually spending time with friends, watching the New York Giants lose, or chilling in the pool.

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