Ice Hockey: Owls dominate Florida Tech in late night matchup to finish season strong

Team punctuates end of the season with an 8-3 win against Panthers


FAU forward Joshua Cremer (17) scores a goal against FIT. Hilary Webber | Contributing Writer

The thrill of the biggest win of the season against the Florida Institute of Technology Panthers on Feb. 6 was a much needed boost for Florida Atlantic University’s ice hockey club, which spent a disappointing weekend in Brandon, Florida, facing off with the Tampa University Spartans in two back-to-back games.

The Spartans netted two victories over the Owls, beating them 10-2 in a Jan. 21 game and 11-1 the day after. Saturday’s efforts, however, proved to be a success as the Owls dominated the Florida Institute of Technology Panthers in an 8-3 win.

The FAU Owls are led by coach Scott Grosky — now in his ninth year with the team — and Peter Worrell, a former NHL Florida Panther. Worrell could be seen shouting encouragement from the bench as the Owls went up against the FIT Panthers in one of this year’s latest games, a 10:45 p.m. matchup at the Space Coast Iceplex in Rockledge, Florida.  

“Skate! Skate! Skate!” Grosky yelled to his team.

The advice might sound self-explanatory, but with a limited bench of ten players — less than half of what it should be — the Owls averaged an exhaustingly higher amount of ice-time than they’re usually confronted with. The FIT bench was underrepresented as well — down to 12 skaters — resulting in a fairly balanced match.

Joshua Cremer (#17) tries to work for a shot attempt between two FIT defenders. Hilary Webber |Contributing Writer
Joshua Cremer (17) tries to work for a shot attempt between two FIT defenders. Hilary Webber | Contributing Writer

FAU struck first, five minutes into the game when forward Joshua Cremer scored a goal against FIT’s starting goalie, Joey Robison, who made several saves throughout the night. FIT fired back quickly, ending the first period 2-1 in favor of the Panthers.

The second period stayed  tied at 2-2 until Cremer scored a second time in the beginning of the third period. FIT retaliated with a goal three minutes later.

A penalty called on FIT allowed for two quick successive goals from FAU, barely allowing the Panthers to breathe. The Owls continued their offensive momentum with three more goals in the third to extend their lead to 8-3

FAU goalie Stevie Krzeminski defended the net, stopping puck after puck despite FIT fans starting to exit the Iceplex as goals continued to light up the scoreboard.

“We’ve had some ups and downs,” Krzeminski said about the year thus far, which stands at 3-15-0.

FAU scores on FIT goalie Joey Robison (#30). Hilary Webber |Contributing Writer
FAU scores on FIT goalie Joey Robison (30). Hilary Webber | Contributing Writer

The 8-3 win against FIT was one of the highlights of the season. Krzeminski’s game-day routine — which consists of working out, a meal shared with his teammates and some time to “stay alone to get focused” — seemed to do the trick this time.

As a junior who has started every game, he’ll be an integral part of next year’s roster. So will club president Hunter Sheehan, who leads the team in goals scored and joins Krzeminski as one of only four players to skate in every game this year.

As this season is now completed, the question becomes whether or not most of the team will return for the 2016-17 season.

“I hope to hell they do,” said coach Grosky.

The Owls’ joy with the win was evident as they celebrate tapped gloves to helmets and gave each other fistbumps. Junior Kenny Korrigan, who was injured in last weekend’s game against Tampa University, even showed up on crutches to support his teammates.

“We’re in one of the hardest conferences in the country,” he said of the challenges the team faces on the ice. One of nine teams in the state of Florida, the Division III FAU club is one of the 148 teams in the American Collegiate Hockey Association.

 FIT goalie Joey Robison (#30) blocks a shot from FAU, keeping the game tied in the second period. Hilary Webber |Contributing Writer
FIT goalie Joey Robison (30) blocks a shot from FAU, keeping the game tied in the second period. Hilary Webber | Contributing Writer

“Nobody knows about it,” Korrigan said.

Ice hockey in South Florida? Coach Grosky admits it’s unusual, but points out that “we have some fantastic clubs down here.”

Hilary Webber is a contributing writer for the University Press. For tips on this or other stories, she can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter.