By Aileyahu Shanes
Follow on Twitter @a_shanes10
The Gators came into Saturday’s game with a lot of momentum from their 7-3 victory over UCF from the night before. They hoped to continue their success by completing their sweep against the Knights in Orlando. However, the Knights knew what they were in for and did not give Florida an easy fight. The Gators also had to play without their second leading point scorer Vinny Marino; however, the depth the team has was enough to play at the same level as the night before.
The Knights, right off the bat, looked to have a much better start than the game prior. They put a lot of pressure on the Gators defense and starting goaltender Tyler Uhr. However, the Gators did not let that intimidate them; as John Hunt scored the first goal of the game and his eighth of the season. Phillip Vanderlaat would record an assist on the play bringing his point total to six. The rest of the period did not see any more goals; rather, it was a fierce goaltending battle between Uhr and UCF junior Vincenzo Sanfilippo. At the end of the period, Uhr saved all thirteen UCF shots while Sanfilippo stopped nine out of ten Gator shots.
The second period, however, did not start out the Gators way. Early into the middle frame, freshman Matthew Scribner lit the lamp for the Knights to tie the game at one. However, who else but John Hunt came to the rescue, quickly regaining the Gators’ lead. But Hunt was not done. What appeared to be in a blink of an eye, the senior from Fort Myers completed the hat trick and brought the Gators lead to two. Hunt would now have ten goals in only five games.
The Knights knew that they had to work hard to come back in the final period. They were not out of the game quite yet and the Gators could not let their guard down. That is exactly what they made sure not to do; and with the first goal of the third, Connor Nicholson took advantage of a loose rebound to give the team president his first goal of the season. The Knights, however, were still hungry to get back in the game as Scribner would go on to score two quick goals to finish his hat trick and bring UF’s lead down to three. Tampa native Matthew Angilella would record his second and third assists of the game on both plays. However, as the period was winding down, Harrison Haber cashed in extra insurance for the Gators to bring the Gators back up by two. Matthew Brkljacic would record his fourth assist of the game on the goal.
A well-rounded game by the Gators kept the team on top for the rest of the game to take home the 5-3 victory. UF is now on a five-game point streak with this win. They are continually racking up wins and are a team that looks like a sure contender for the SECHC championship. The Gators have a few weeks off but return to action on the 22nd against fellow SECHC powerhouse, the FAU Owls.