Lions Use Fourth Quarter Surge to Knock off Panthers

MELBOURNE, Fla. Florida Tech erased a three-goal deficit just before the third quarter ended to send the game into the final quarter tied, 8-8, against Lindenwood. But the Lions went on to score seven unanswered goals in the fourth quarter to leave Melbourne with a 15-8 victory on Saturday.

Lindenwood (1-1) took a 7-4 lead with 7:23 remaining in the second quarter-its largest lead up to that point. The teams saw four lead changes and three ties before the Lions earned the three-goal advantage. Florida Tech (2-2) opened the game with back-to-back goals by freshman Nick Gardner.

With less than two minutes remaining in the first half, Lindenwood took a slashing penalty to give the Panthers a man-up opportunity.

It took FIT just six seconds into the power play to score. Senior Matt Durand netted his fourth goal of the season on a pass from Andrew Conley to cut the deficit to 7-5 at the break.

Then Conley scored the first goal of the second half to cut the Lions' lead to 7-6 with 8:52 left in the third quarter. Lindenwood responded two minutes later to push its lead back to two goals.

A second Lions' slashing penalty gave the Panthers a third man-advantage opportunity with 4:58 remaining in the third. Forty seconds into the power play, Gardner found Durand for FIT's third man-up goal--Durand's second--of the game.

With 31 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Durand completed the hat trick to tie the game at 8-8. Junior Evan Ryan found Durand in front of the net for the score.

In the fourth quarter, it was all Lindenwood. The Lions scored 44 seconds into the final quarter to regain the lead at 9-8. Lindenwood then scored six more unanswered goals over the final 10 minutes of regulation to earn its first victory of the season by a score of 15-8.

FIT went 3 for 3 on man-up opportunities with Durand scoring two and Gardner scoring one. Both Durand and Gardner finished with hat tricks, while Gardner added an assist. Conley scored the Panthers' other two goals, while adding one assist.

Junior Eric Biller (2-2) made a season-high 16 saves in the loss, including seven in the third quarter.

FIT will host Coker next on Friday, March 1 at 7:00 p.m. The Panthers defeated the Cobras by a score of 11-9 on the road a season ago.


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