Bacarella, Gardner Lead Panthers Past Mountain Lions

ST. JOHNS, Fla. Freshmen Brian Bacarella and Nick Gardner combined for 10 goals in Florida Tech's 14-7 victory over Young Harris on Sunday in a neutral site game at Creekside High School. The Panthers finished the season with a 6-8 overall record.

Young Harris (5-8) scored the game's first goal just 40 seconds into the first quarter. But Florida Tech (6-8) responded with three unanswered goals to take a 3-1 lead after the first 15 minutes.

Bacarella tallied two goals in a span of six minutes to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead. Sophomores Andrew Conley and Mike Marshner set up the freshman's pair of goals. With less than four minutes remaining, sophomore Ryan Bailey fed Gardner for his first of five goals of the afternoon to give Florida Tech the 3-1 advantage.

The Mountain Lions cut the deficit to 3-2 to begin the second quarter, but the Panthers responded again. This time Florida Tech scored five unanswered goals to take an 8-2 lead into halftime.

Senior Matt Durand set up Gardner on a man-up opportunity to begin the five-goal run with 9:27 remaining in the second quarter. Gardner scored again four minutes later to complete the hat trick and give the Panthers a 5-2 lead. With 2:28 left in the first half, Bacarella scored his third goal of the game to push the lead to 6-2.

Gardner, recording his fourth point of the first half, set up Marshner for Florida Tech's second man-up goal of the game. With 19 seconds remaining before the break, Conley scored to give the Panthers an 8-2 halftime lead.

Young Harris scored 32 seconds into the third quarter to cut the deficit to 8-3, but Bacarella and Conley both scored unassisted goals to put Florida Tech ahead by a score of 10-3. Conley's goal was the third man-up goal of the game.

Florida Tech scored its 27th man-up goal of the season to begin the fourth quarter. Gardner scored his fourth goal of the game on the power play to give the Panthers an 11-4 lead.

Two minutes later, Florida Tech took its largest lead of 13-4 after goals by Conley and Bacarella.

The Mountain Lions scored their first string of goals between the 7:15 and 1:35 marks of the fourth quarter when they scored three-straight goals to cut the deficit to 13-7.

With 28 seconds remaining in regulation, Marshner collected his second assist of the afternoon when he set up Gardner's fifth goal of the game to give the Panthers a 14-7 victory.

Junior Eric Biller (6-7) collected his sixth win of the season making 11 saves. The junior from Westminster, Md. finished the season with 11 10-plus save games.

Gardner finished with a game-high six points on five goals and one assists. Also scoring five goals was Bacarella-a career best for both players. Conley finished the game with his seventh hat trick of the season, while adding one assist. Marshner recorded one goal and collected two assists.

The Panthers recorded four man-up goals to finish the season with 27 man-up goals. Gardner scored two of them to finish the season with six. Conley also scored a man-up goal to tie Gardner with six man-up goals on the season.

Florida Tech concludes its 2013 campaign with a 6-8 record, collecting four more wins than it did during its inaugural season in 2012.


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