By Aileyahu Shanes
Follow on Twitter @a_shanes10
The Florida Gators are looking to build on their momentum from their dominant 7-2 win over the Embry-Riddle Eagles to defeat the University of Tennessee Volunteers in their weekend matchups. The game will be the team’s home opener, so with the crowed on the its side the game will surely be an exciting and entertaining atmosphere.
Some Gators to keep an eye on are those that had outstanding performances last game. Look out for junior center Vinny Marino, who will be looking to build on his four-point performance against ERAU. His line-mate, senior John Hunt, is also a guy to keep an eye on. Hunt recorded three points and two goals in the teams first game of the season. The starter for the Gators has not been announced for either of the two games, but Freshman Tyler Uhr is sure to start in at least one of them. Uhr had an unbelievable performance in his first game as a Gator, saving 32 out of 34 shots and recording a .941 save percentage.
The Gators are facing a Tennessee team that blew its first two games of the season in back-to-back games against the University of Kentucky. The Ice Vols currently sit in fourteenth place in the SECHC standings and have a -9-goal differential. However, Kentucky has a great hockey team that is tough to beat, especially in a back-to-back scenario. Tennessee also has some great talent like captain Drew King, forward Andrej Buchko, and sophomore Nick Carline.
Shut down defense is going to be crucial for the Gators in these upcoming matchups. The Ice Vols are a team that love to put the puck in the back of the net, so continuing to have success in their own zone will be important for the Gators this weekend. Penalties are also something that can be a make or break for the Gators. The team had a combined 40 penalty minutes against Embry-Riddle. The team still came out successful, but stronger discipline on the ice will help give the Gators a better advantage during these next two games.
The first game will be tonight, Friday September 24th. Puck drop will be at 9:00PM at Advent Health Center Ice in Wesley Chapel, Florida. The second game will take place on Sunday September 26th. The game will take place at the same location, but will start at 12:00PM.
If you want to come support the Gators in person, Wesley Chapel, located just north of Tampa, is approximately a ninety-minute car ride from Gainesville. Tickets will be sold at the door for ten dollars each. If you are unable to make it in person, the game will be streamed on LiveBarn.com for those who have a paid subscription.