Gators club hockey team skates way to nationals

By Adam Silverstein
March 9, 2010

After a slow start in which it was winless in its first four games, the Florida Gators club hockey team has won 17-straight and most recently qualified for nationals at the South Regional Championship in Pelham, AL.

Given a No. 6 ranking going into the tournament, Florida rattled off a 5-2 win over No. 7 East Carolina before taking on the No. 3 Loyola-Marymount Greyhounds.

Up a goal (2-1) with 28.5 seconds left, the Gators gave up a score to Rob Summerlin. Just when it looked like Florida would have to go into overtime, senior assistant captain Matt Chais made a power move to the net and scored with 14.5 seconds remaining to give the Gators a 3-2 victory.

“We were huge underdogs, no other players, coaches or directors around the league thought we should have even been at regionals,” Chais told OGGOA reader Aaron H., who brought this story to our attention. “However, we’ve now won 16 games in a row [and haven’t lost] since October 23.”

Trying to capitalize on its success, the Gators took on and eventually fell to the No. 1-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks 3-2 in the SEC Championship game, simultaneously snapping its 17-game winning streak.

Florida is one of four teams from the Southeastern region to earn a trip to nationals, where it will compete against 15 other squads for the 2010 American Collegiate Hockey Association D3 National Championship.

The Gators will face College of Canyons, Saginaw Valley State and Robert Morris in pool play at nationals from March 10-13 at the Germain Arena in Estero, FL.

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