Your 2014-2015 University of Tampa Spartans
Your 2015 Graduating Seniors
#4 Brennan McDonnell- Communications
Brennan McDonnell played six semesters for the University, always finding himself somewhere in the top four defensive slots. He had a hip-check that dismantled players who literally, not figuratively, had a foot or more on him in height advantage. He established a culture on the team of staunch loyalty to the goaltenders, and defended the crease with his life. Constantly harried by injury, he was a true warrior; nothing could keep him from the game. He scored an emphatic game-winner against the FSU Seminoles his junior year on a one-timer try from the point, and also led the defense during the program’s only win against the USF Ice Bulls, laying devastating hits on the opponents that took their minds completely out of the contest.
#5 Connor Indermaur- Accounting
Connor Indermaur played seven semesters for the University, and also helped out in the front office by designing and maintaining the team website and by serving as Vice President of the club. On the ice, he stepped into his largest role his junior year, when he filled in seamlessly for an injured first liner. He would center the starting line that semester flawlessly; scoring near-impossible goals from low angles, back-checking unselfishly and tenaciously, passing creatively, and winning key face-offs. He had giant games his junior year against top-five opponents: the USC Gamecocks, the UCF Knights, and the USF Ice Bulls, scoring in each of the three contests.
#16 Adam Albelin- Sport Management
Adam Albelin was a big, physical defenseman for the University for three semesters. Despite being plagued by injury, he contributed key points and delivered crucial hits that propelled the team forwards towards the realization of its potential. He scored a giant goal his sophomore year in the Tampa Bay Times Forum, and also earned the team respect that year with an enormous performance against the then-number-two ranked Kennesaw State team. In his senior year, he returned to the team from injury to play some of the most important minutes on the blue line this team has ever seen.
#22 Darren Gazaille- Marketing
Darren Gazaille played six semesters for the University, logging more than forty games as a Spartans first or second line forward. He had an affinity for draws and could help control the game as a face-off specialist. He surpassed the twenty-point mark in both his junior and senior season, marking assist after assist due to his passing ability. His senior year, he helped facilitate the scoring capability of his line mate Matt Antonacci, who tallied forty eight goals in his quest to lead the nation in DIII goals scored. Gazaille was the type of player who could convert on a key play when it was needed; his prowess on face offs especially contributed to a number of much-needed goals during the confusion of a draw.
#23 Joe Massaro- Biology
Joe Massaro played four semesters for the University, serving as a true soldier on the checking line. He brought tenacious physicality to the Spartans forwards. In the fall of his senior year, he tallied the game winning score against the Miami Hurricanes, a team with which the Spartans have had a heated rivalry for the past few seasons. Massaro’s superior intelligence was matched by his character. His work ethic, positive unselfish attitude, his ferocious style of play- all of these qualities exemplified his ability to lead by example. He was a real teammate: he would do what it takes to help the team win.
#26 Drew Hunsberger- History
Drew Hunsberger played six semesters for the University, at times logging shifts with the top line. He was a true athlete, stolen from the University’s DII NCAA men’s lacrosse program, and this was evident the instant he set foot on the ice. His hands were incredible, his footwork fleet, and his competitive resolve absolute. His sophomore year against Georgia Tech, he launched a strike from the redline that found its way to the back of the net- a slap shot that travelled 90-plus feet in an instant. His senior year, the Spartans found themselves in North Carolina, in the Charlotte Shootout. Trailing 4-3 with only four tenths of a second remaining on the clock, Hunsberger slammed home the equalizer to knot the game at 4. His quiet, positive leadership will be remembered and missed.
#39 Greg Lemrow- Government World Affairs
Greg Lemrow was a starting goalie for the University since its inception four years ago, playing eight semesters for the Spartans- from their first ever ACHA appearance to their first ever post season appearance. His junior year, he was a selection for the South Region All-Star team and represented the Spartans well in the tournament that year in Philadelphia. His first two years with the infant Spartans program resulted in many games where he would have to face an unbelievable volume of shots on goal- some nights his save column would be in the fifties. His ability to rise to these challenges is inspiring.
Nick Koen- Finance
Nick Koen played seven semesters for the University, starting on defense in the program’s first ever ACHA game. Although he left the program just a few months shy of its first ever post season due to injury and work responsibilities, it must be acknowledged that the team very well may not exist without him. His sophomore year, he was one of only six players who faced Embry Riddle on Gasparilla weekend, and played sixty full minutes without complaint. He simply refused to get tired as one of the most fit players to go through this team. He would commonly be the only defenseman for UT able to outwork every opponent he faced, every shift, all night. He earned the team a lot of respect by going head to head with the most ferocious hitters on the other team; when faced with the prospect of USF or UCF or Miami’s biggest and strongest players, he would never allow himself to be out-competed.
University of Tampa @ University of South Florida (SCHC Consolation Game)
Saturday February 28,2015
This would be the final day of competitive checking hockey at a collegiate level for all the graduating seniors on the Spartans’ roster. Emotions were running high as the boys had already faced their annual cross-town rivals twice in the last two weeks- once in front of a big home crowd in Amalie Arena and once in the opening round of Regionals with a trip to Nationals on the line- and had blown it in both games, losing the former 6-2 and the latter 6-5 in overtime. All of the graduating seniors wanted to leave a lasting impression as they came out one final time together.
It was Jake Peterson, however, -a freshman rookie- who struck first, and sank a puck that was lying behind the Ice Bulls’ goalie in the midst of a scrum just one minute into the contest. Both teams took penalties but it was USF who capitalized next, scoring on the power play with twelve minutes to go in the first. The next goal would actually come short-handed from USF, who capitalized on a power play breakdown and took the lead despite the man disadvantage. UT quickly recovered their composure though and put a goal in on that very same power play, which resulted in junior forward Jared Eckert tying the game back up at two goals apiece. For the third time as many weeks, the Spartans were headed into the second period tied 2-2 with USF.
Assistant Captain Nick Martin had fire in his belly all weekend as he consistently took pucks away from enemy defensemen and put in a goal both nights. He regained the lead for UT just as a USF penalty expired and the boys were in the lead, 3-2. The Ice Bulls made a goalie change halfway through the period but the Spartans could not find a way through. It would be USF that took control of the period, scoring two goals a mere thirty seconds apart in the waning minutes of the second. The boys were trailing 4-3 headed into the final twenty minutes of the year.
In the third period, the seniors came alive. Graduating senior Drew Hunsberger netted a hat trick during his final period of collegiate play, three goals that the boys desperately needed. Fellow graduating seniors Connor Indermaur and Joey Massaro were part of the surgically precise trap that paired smart positioning with vicious hitting to simultaneously pin the Ice Bulls in their zone and generate turnovers. Head Captain Matt Fenby played up to the high standard set by line mates Nick Martin and Evan Stawarz as he put in the game winner with help from both of them. The night was ultimately taken by the Spartans, 7-5, amidst the seas of emotionally charged penalties that came as the night went along.
Following the conclusion of the game, the Spartans were awarded 3rd place in the SCHC and rookie sensation Matt Antonacci was bestowed with the honors of a 2nd Team All Conference selection.
This capped off a giant historical season for the University- the first ever trips to a Regional tournament and Conference tournament. The boys will only build upon this success in the future, as they are now hungry for a Conference Trophy as well as a bid to Nationals.
Final Score: 7-5 UTScorers: Jake Peterson (4)
Jared Eckert (4)
Nick Martin (18)
Drew Hunsberger (5,6,7)
Matt Fenby (9)
University of Tampa @ Florida Gulf Coast University (SCHC Playoffs-Opening Round)
Friday, February 27,2015
The University of Tampa Spartans participated in the inaugural year of the Southern Collegiate Hockey Conference tournament by edging out the FAU Owls for the final spot in the four-team showdown. The boys were coming off of a heartbreaking overtime loss the previous weekend in the Regional tournament to rival USF (3).
The game did not begin well. Just shy of three minutes into the first period, the heavily favored Eagles jumped out to a quick start with a goal. Only two minutes later the boys would take a penalty and surrender a goal on the ensuing powerplay, making it 2-0 FGCU. The Spartans rallied back and made it 2-1 on a highlight reel play from rookie defenseman Jake Peterson. However, FGCU regained control of the momentum with a goal just minutes before the period was set to expire. The first act would end 3-1 in favor of the Nationals-bound Eagles.
The boys fought every minute of the game, however, and were not done with that easily. The first ten minutes of the second belonged to the Spartans’ first line as line-mates Nick Martin and Evan Stawarz each found the net. The score was knotted 3-3 until FGCU regained a normal air of composure and struck twice in the final five minutes of the period, utterly deflating the team’s momentum towards a comeback.
The Spartans did not give up but over the final twenty minutes of the contest, they would be unable to find the back of the net. The quicksand of the Eagles’ fore-check ensnared two more goals as they suffocated the Spartans 7-3. They continued on to the Championship round to compete for the first ever awarding of the SCHC Trophy against the UCF Knights (5), who toppled the USF Bulls (3). The Spartans thus had to face their bitter cross-town rivals one more time in the consolation match of the Conference tournament.
Final Score: 7-3 FGCU
Nick Martin (17)
Evan Stawarz (18)
University of Tampa @ University of South Florida (ACHA Regionals)
Friday February 20,2015
The University of Tampa Men’s Ice Hockey team made school history this weekend as they made their first ever post season appearance, squeezing into the last spot in the South Region at number 10 to play against the heavily favored number 3 USF Ice Bulls. With the regular season wrapped up at 14-13-2 in the ACHA, the boys were ready to step up. They made the trip east to Orlando to the ACHA DIII South Regional Tournament in an attempt to stay alive. A win on Friday night would mean a game on Saturday- and a win there would mean a bid to the ACHA DIII National Tournament.
This time, it was USF that struck first, scoring only a few minutes into the opening act on a power play. Konstantin Zuev, a new pickup this semester for the team, scored his first ever ACHA goal (and the team’s first ever post season goal) in dramatic fashion to tie the score at one, catching a saucer pass from senior Drew Hunsberger that went over two USF sticks and coming in on a breakaway to roof the puck on his backhand. The Spartans immediately took a penalty, however, and surrendered another power play goal. The boys quickly found themselves on the right side of a man advantage, though, and made it count. Senior defenseman Corey Tudor stepped down from the blue line and shot an absolute laser beam that would go bar-down to knot the game at two once again. So once again, the Spartans were tied 2-2 going into the second.
There were flashbacks of doom and brimstone as the boys went down 4-2. A solid ten minutes of the second period elapsed with the Spartans nursing a two-goal deficit, each team trying to jockey for position. After sniffing around the goal for a few shifts, head Captain Matt Fenby finally returned, scoring after a 3 game drought that followed his 6 game suspension. The game was teetering back and forth headed into the third period, with Tampa trailing 4-3.
Fenby and Tudor would each have two assists early in the third, setting up Assistant Captain Nick Martin and junior forward Evan Stawarz for a pair of goals that put the Spartans ahead, 5-4. The game was fierce, both teams throwing themselves headlong into the game in an effort to keep their Nationals hopes alive. Unfortunately the Ice Bulls would score the equalizer with a little over three minutes left in regulation. The contest continued into overtime— and in the postseason, overtime is 5-on-5 for twenty minute periods until somebody scores.
DIII’s premier goal-scorer Matt Antonacci would ring a rocket shot off the inside of the post that nearly sealed the game for the boys. After seventy-plus minutes of lights-out goaltending on both sides, the Ice Bulls found a way past the Spartans on a deflection from a shot from the point on the power play. The Spartans were thus eliminated from the postseason while the Ice Bulls went on to face the number 9 Ole Miss Rebels.
The Spartans will have one more tournament left, a playoff amongst their league rivals in the Southern Collegiate Hockey Conference. The games will be number 1 FGCU against number 10 Tampa at 6pm followed by number 3 USF against number 5 UCF at 8:30pm at our barn, the Brandon Ice Sports Forum.
The boys owe much of their success to the resounding support they received from UT and the surrounding community. The coaches, staff, trainers, advisors, parents, and managers all enabled the Spartans to start living up to their potential only four years after the University’s first ever ACHA game.
Final Score: 6-5 USF (OT)
Scorers: Konstantin Zuev (1)
Corey Tudor (10)
Matt Fenby (8)
Nick Martin (16)
Evan Stawarz (17)
University of South Florida @ University of Tampa
Sunday February 15, 2015
The #10 Spartans played once again at the home of the Tampa Bay Lightning in Channelside, in Amalie Arena against their cross-town rivals, the #3 USF Ice Bulls. Both teams had just found out on Friday February 13th that they would be meeting the following Friday in Round One of the ACHA South Regional Tournament, in which they would compete for a spot in the National Tournament, and both teams were looking to come out and set the tone a week early. Right away the Spartans drew first blood, on a one-time look to Assistant Captain Joe Tully from his linemates Darren Gazaille and Matt Antonacci. The first period would come to a close knotted 2-2 due to another tally by Antonacci- his fourty-eighth of the regular season- enough to put him atop the nation’s leading goal scorers in DIII.
The boys’ luck would run out there, however. In a nightmarish turn of bad bounces, penalties, and missed assignments, the Spartans would blow it in front of their home crowd, 6-2. They were the opening act of Hockey Day in Tampa Bay, a hockey showcase hosted by the Lightning at Amalie Arena, and while the result was unfavorable, it was still a good day for the boys to play right in downtown and to interact with the Lightning staff with whom they have worked on charities and camps for the past few years. A special thank you to the Tampa Bay Lightning organization for making this day possible.
Final Score: 6-2 USF
Scorers: Joe Tully (14)
Matt Antonacci (48)
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