FAU Hockey Club: Owls close regular season with a two-game sweep past Miami

FAU extended its winning streak to 10, clinching the second seed in the SECHC Tournament.


Bryce Totz

Photo of Clay Cleveland after his final home game with the FAU Hockey Club.

Nicholas Montante and Bryce Totz

Game 1 (Friday, Feb. 4, 2022): FAU 8, Miami 2

In their last home game of the season, the FAU Hockey Club (18-3-1-0, SECHC 10-1-0-0) wowed spectators in a dominating win over the University of Miami Hurricanes (4-8-0-0, SCHC 1-7-0-0). 

The game was also the perfect send-off for the seniors on the roster. Graduating seniors Jake Friedman, Daniel Hammer, Nick Pica, Jack Trathen, and team captain Clay Cleveland all received plaques that commemorated their time with the team in a ceremony before the game.

The Owls pushed hard at the beginning of the game and notched a goal less than two minutes in. Sophomore forward Nick McInchak took advantage of a rebound and sent the puck into the back of the net.

Three minutes later, sophomore forward Griffen Bono scored and made it 2-0. McInchak and Pica provided assists on the goal.

Junior forward Myles Davidson extended the lead to 3-0 for the Owls with 5:54 to go in the first. Friedman earned the assist on this play. The first period ended with only six shots on goal for the Hurricanes compared to the Owls’ 17 shots.

The Hurricanes finally got on the board two minutes into the second period.

At 8:46, FAU took the goal back when junior defenseman David Israel fired the puck into an empty net after Miami’s goaltender was drawn out and went down in response to Israel’s maneuvering.

With just under six minutes to go in the second, FAU went on the powerplay after the Hurricanes took a cross-checking penalty. At 15:07, Davidson snapped the puck into the net after a lightning-quick cross-ice pass from Friedman. The second period ended with the Owls up 5-1.

The third period got off to a fast start when junior forward Matias Weir carried the puck into the offensive zone and passed it back to Friedman, who then passed it to a waiting Davidson at the side of the net. Davidson shot the puck in for his third goal of the night less than a minute after the period began. This officially marked back-to-back hat-tricks for Davidson, going back to last Saturday’s game.

A flurry of penalties over the next several minutes eventually led to FAU being forced to the penalty kill. Pica was in the box for four minutes with a pair of roughing penalties.

Even shorthanded, the Owls were not denied. Cleveland fired the puck past Miami’s goaltender all the way from the blue line with 12:37 left in the period while down a player. The crowd rocked with excitement from Cleveland’s goal and FAU was now ahead 7-1.

The game experienced more excitement in its closing minutes when freshman forward Nick Solarino took a five-minute kneeing major penalty and two-minute roughing penalty with 5:47 left. FAU was on the penalty kill for the remainder of the game.

Sophomore goaltender Sean Williams II was tested heavily during this time and made several great saves.

At 16:57, the Hurricanes scored their second and final goal of the night while the Owls were short-handed.

With just sixteen seconds left, Friedman scored on a 2-on-1 with Hammer and pushed the game to its final score of 8-2.

When the buzzer sounded, fans and players alike gathered in celebration of the win.

 “The season’s not over, the mission’s not over,” Cleveland said after the game, referencing the team’s remaining game and its participation in next month’s SECHC Tournament.

They will travel to Huntsville, Ala. for the tournament, where they are currently the second seed.

“You create a familyhood,” the captain spoke of his teammates. “It feels so nice to have that community of teammates and brothers that I’ll just take for the rest of my life.”  

Cleveland was also optimistic about the team’s future without him and his fellow seniors: “We pay to be here, so why would we not try our best? And that’s the simple thing. If we instill that in our kids’ minds, then I think we’re going to have a great future. Long after any of us are gone.”

Nicholas Montante is a staff writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected], or tweet him @nickmontante1.


Game 2 (Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022): FAU 7, Miami 4


The FAU Hockey Club (19-3-1-0, 19-3-1-0 SECHC) completed the sweep against the University of Miami Hurricanes (4-10-0-0, 1-7-0-0 SCHC) Saturday afternoon on the road at the Kendall Ice Arena. The Owls won each of their last 10 games and stayed undefeated during the spring semester. 

Junior goaltender Andrew Newborn started and saved 28 of the 32 shots he faced. Offensively, the Owls peppered the net with 45 shots.

The first couple of minutes of the game were slow until junior defenseman Nolan Capello took a tripping penalty with 15:37 to go in the first period.

Despite being short-handed, the Owls took the lead with 5:32 into the game. Junior forward Jake Friedman found twine with help from junior forward Matias Weir and junior defenseman David Israel. 

Shortly after, FAU got its first powerplay opportunity with 13:22 left in the period after Miami was called for a hooking penalty. However, the Owls were unsuccessful on the man-advantage. Freshman forward Michael Linhares was sent to the penalty box for the same penalty with 8:10 left, but Newborn stayed strong in net.

Senior forward Colin Cunningham expanded FAU’s score, as he put a puck past Miami’s goaltender with 2:22 left in the period. Linhares and sophomore forward Dante Balsamo assisted the goal.

Before the period ended, the Owls earned another powerplay opportunity after a roughing penalty with 31 seconds to go. Miami cut the lead in half with a short-handed goal of their own just over a minute into the second period.

The next couple of minutes were quiet until another penalty was issued to Miami. This time, there were two penalties: one for cross-checking and the other for slashing. Freshman defenseman Justin Machovina scored on the powerplay from Friedman and Israel.

Miami snuck a goal past Newborn with 11:11 to go in the second, making it a one-goal game again. 

About two minutes later, Machovina scored from Friedman and Israel again, making it a 4-2 game. 

Just one minute after the goal, senior center Nick Pica went to the penalty box for five minutes after spearing a Hurricane. 

FAU stayed hot though, as junior forward Myles Davidson scored the game-winner, assisted by Israel and Weir. This goal came on the powerplay after one of Miami’s players was called for roughing.

Freshman forward Quin Menosky scored another goal with 4:08 left in the period, assisted by senior defenseman Kyle Kaserman.

After two periods, the Owls led 6-2 and had five powerplay opportunities. Defensively, FAU took three penalties over the first two periods.

Miami took two penalties 20 seconds into the final period, hooking and roughing, but the Owls did not capitalize. They were sent to the penalty box again with 15:17 left for tripping and Weir took advantage with the help of Davidson.

Miami scored its two final goals with 10:58 and 4:28 left in the game. They also took two more penalties, totaling 11 for the team. 

The Owls will compete in the SECHC Tournament which begins Friday, March 4, in Huntsville, Ala. The Tournament will conclude Sunday, March 6.

Bryce Totz is the Sports Editor at the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected], or tweet him @brycetotz.