FAU Hockey Club: Owls eliminated from College Hockey Federation Cup in pool play

The Owls won the first two games, but fell in the third.


Eston Parker III

University Press stock photo of the FAU Hockey Club celebrating a goal.

Bryce Totz and Nicholas Montante

Game 1 (Friday, March 18): FAU 13, Alvernia 3

The Owls soared in the first game of pool play, scoring 13 goals on 57 shots. Freshman goaltender Blake Valli made 41 saves on four shots.

FAU was down early, as junior forward Peter Falivena found the back of the net for the Alvernia Golden Wolves just over two minutes into the game.

Seven minutes in, junior forward Jake Friedman put the Owls on the scoreboard with two goals. Junior forward Matias Weir assisted the first goal with 13:48 to go in the first. Weir and junior forward Myles Davidson combined to help the second goal 22 seconds later.

Friedman scored his third goal, completing the hat trick with 6:10 to go in the first.

The second period was busy for FAU as the team netted nine goals, including five from the special teams.

Junior defenseman David Israel and Davidson found freshman center Douglas Randle on the team’s first powerplay to make it a 4-1 game about three and a half minutes into the period.

Alvernia’s freshman defenseman Justin Cohn was charged with cross-checking on the play. Just 14 seconds into that powerplay, senior center Nick Pica scored from Israel and Valli. 

With 13:43 left in the period, Weir scored his first goal of the tournament with help from Friedman and Israel. However, the Golden Wolves got one back 23 seconds later to make the game 6-2. 

In the eighth minute of the second period, Randle scored his second of the night. 18 seconds after that, senior defenseman Clay Cleveland joined the fun with help from Pica. 

FAU took advantage of another cross-checking penalty, as Weir scored with just over nine minutes to go in the period. 

About three minutes after Weir’s goal, sophomore forward Griffen Bono scored his first of the tournament. Alvernia was charged with a boarding penalty on the whistle and 17 seconds later, Davidson scored his first of the CHF Fed Cup.

Friedman made it a 12-2 game with 2:29 to go in the period, but Alvernia scored 18 seconds following his goal.

The third period was quiet, as Davidson and Weir found Friedman for the only goal to leave the score at 13-3.

Friedman finished with five goals and an assist, while Weir and Randle scored two goals each.  Davidson and Israel each finished with four assists. 

Game 2 (Saturday, March 19): FAU 5, Kutztown 2

Despite scoring less than half the amount they did the night before, the Owls came away with another solid victory on Saturday. FAU scored five goals on 39 shots.

Sophomore goaltender Sean Williams II made 19 saves on 21 shots. 

The Kutztown Golden Bears were charged with a cross-checking penalty with about two and a half minutes left in the first period, which allowed the Owls to score 30 seconds later. Junior defenseman David Israel broke the scoreless tie with assists from junior forward Jake Friedman and freshman center Douglas Randle.

The Owls picked up the pace in the second, getting three goals. Friedman scored 6:24 into the period from senior defenseman Jack Trathen. 

The Golden Bears got on the scoreboard about halfway through the period to make it 2-1. 

Sophomore forward Dante Balsamo scored his first point of the tournament with the game-winning goal at 12:46 into the period. Senior center Nick Pica and Trathen assisted on the play. 

With 5:50 remaining in the period, Friedman netted his second goal of the game. Junior forward Matias Weir and Israel created the short-handed goal for Friedman.

Both teams scored a goal in the third period. Israel scored his second of the afternoon with assists from Pica and Randle. The powerplay goal came with just under nine minutes left. The Golden Bears scored with about 90 seconds to go.

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

Game 3 (Sunday, March 20): Georgia Tech 4, FAU 2

After an exciting season, and two tournament runs, the FAU Hockey Club’s year has ended. After blowing through their opponents in their first two games at the CHF Fed Cup, FAU fell to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. 

Most of the first period was a tight affair, with neither team managing to finish off their scoring chances. There were only 28 seconds left when senior forward Jake Friedman finally broke open the deadlock and netted a goal. Junior forwards Matias Weir and Myles Davidson both earned an assist on the play.

The first period ended with 18 shots on goal for FAU, and 11 for the Yellow Jackets.

11 minutes into the second period, freshman centerman Douglas Randle was given a slashing penalty. The Yellow Jackets took advantage and scored on the powerplay with 8:27 left in the period. 

Four minutes later, the Yellow Jackets scored again and took the lead over the Owls. Georgia Tech didn’t look back after that.

Unlike the previous two periods, it did not take long for a goal to occur in the third period. Georgia Tech put another one into FAU’s net just under five minutes into the period. The score would remain stable at 3-1 until the closing minutes of the game. 

With 1:28 left on the clock, sophomore forward Griffen Bono scored with an assist from Weir. This made it 3-2 and gave the Owls a chance to tie the game before time expired.

FAU goaltender Blake Valli was pulled off the ice with 1:14 left for the extra attacker. 10 seconds later, however, the Yellow Jackets scored an empty-net goal and made it 4-2 to seal the win and the conclusion to the Owls’ season. Overall, FAU outshot Georgia Tech 48-31 but could not find the back of the net for most of their scoring chances. 

Junior defenseman David Israel was named Player of the Game for FAU. 

“It was a really great experience, especially for our young guys,” commented Israel in an interview with Siobhan Nolan from Black Dog Hockey. “We had all the chances, all the looks, but just the little details caught up to us.”

In an email to the University Press, general manager Gary Kaufman expressed his feelings on the season.

“I am very proud of what the team accomplished this season,” Kaufman said. “With more than half the guys playing in their first season [with] the Owls and a new head coach, they had their winningest record in years.” 

Despite some players graduating and leaving the team like Friedman or captain Clay Cleveland, Kaufman is optimistic about the future.

“Building on our strengths and making adjustments where needed, I anticipate another exciting season for the team beginning in the fall and fun game-days for the students and the community to enjoy,” Kaufman said.

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