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FAU Wins Opener at AAU College Hockey National Tournament



College hockey

WEST CHESTER, Pa. — The FAU Owls wanted to make a statement in the opening game of the AAU DII College Hockey Nationals. 

Despite getting the win, it was their opponents who opened some eyes. 

FAU took a 5-2 win over Ramapo College on Friday night, but they survived multiple scares to win.

Ramapo came out strong on the body, attacking senior forward Matias Weir, who was briefly knocked out of the game. 

The Owls made them pay just minutes later. 

On the ensuing powerplay, captain Jake Friedman ripped a snap shot from just in front of the center blue line to make it 1-0 at 8:37.

About five minutes after taking the initial hit, Weir was slammed into again. After being down for a few minutes and being attended to, he skated to the locker room, but not before sharing a few words with the officials and slamming his helmet to the ice in frustration. 

The Roadrunners’ plan was working; the Owls were rattled. 

FAU was resilient, with Matt Beraldi tipping in a shot to make it 2-0 late in the period.

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The sloppy play continued in the second, nearly costing the Owls the game. The Owls spent over half the period in the box, and the Roadrunners were rewarded. 

After Weir, who returned to the game late in the first, scored a power-play goal 3:19 into the 2nd to put the Owls up 3-0, Rampo capitalized on two 5-on-3 opportunities over the next two minutes, scoring their only two goals of the game at 4:17 and 5:17 respectively. 

The Owls cleaned up their act in the third and returned to scoring form, with Justin Greenberg cleaning up the mess from the left slot just 1:36 into the final frame. 

After Paul Fiorello stopped an initial shot from the right side, the puck came right to Greenberg, who had an empty net to shoot at to bring the lead back to two, 4-2. 

The icing on the cake came with 11:14 left in the game when Leon Biller got the puck on net, but Fiorello misplayed it, and it pinballed in to put a bow on the 5-2 final score.

FAU was taken out of its game and forced to focus on a more physical style, the big names still found the back of the net.

The Owls should come out with more confidence going into Saturday when they take on in-state rival Embry-Riddle at Noon.


FAU goalie Rocco Bruno was perfect even strength, and stopped 24 out of 26 shots. 

It was a homecoming for sorts for Bruno, who hails from Springfield, PA. Springfield is less than 20 miles from this year’s tournament site.

— FAU Senior David Israel’s college career ended abruptly ahead of the tournament. He did not make the trip due to injury.

— Declan Cottone (FAU) and Devin Haines (RCNJ) were each handed game misconducts in the 2nd period and will miss Saturday’s games.

— Six of the seven goals were on the power play. In addition to the game misconducts, 62 penalty minutes were shared by the two teams. 


 Today was also the opener for the other DII teams in the 2024 AAU College Hockey National Championships

 — The University of Tampa’s DII team started with a 4-0 W over SUNY Brockport. Ethan Gelman led the way with what ended up being the GWG 15:23 into the first period, and added a late assist, while goalie Sebastian Fontana stopped 19 of 20 shots faced.

— Embry-Riddle had different luck in their opening game, losing 4-1 to Penn State-Harrisburg. Late in the third period, Derek Costanzo has the lone goal for the Eagles.

— The Florida Gators cruised to a 7-0 shutout over Neumann University. Goalie Connor Lee pitched a 33-save shutout. Michael McCoy and Kwgan Lampinen both found the back of the net twice, scoring in the first and third periods. 

— The UCF Knights were on the other side of a shutout, losing 2-0 against Alabama-Huntsville.

— On the women’s side, Tampa had 68 shots on net, and won their second and final game of the round robin portion 3-1 over Binghamton. They will likely face Paul Smith’s College in the final on Sunday.

– In DI — Tampa finished a clean sweep of the round-robin portion of their schedule, surviving a scare in a 3-2 win over CHS rival Georgia. They will open the semifinals against another familiar face, South Carolina, at 9 Saturday night.

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