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Miami, FAU, UF Play for College Hockey Titles Today

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WEST CHESTER, Pa. — When the puck drops on the AAU College Hockey DII and DIII championships on Wednesday, one thing will be for sure: A team from Florida will take home the trophy.

With Miami facing Florida Southern in the DIII title game, and FAU facing Florida in DII, there is a lot of familiarity going into the championship round.

The Hurricanes have faced Lakeland’s Florida Southern three times — losing the first 6-5 before winning the next two a combined 10-0.

Florida Southern’s lethal offense averages over 7 goals per game — but Miami has not given one up to the Mocs in 124:06.

The two play for the DIII title on Wednesday at 11 a.m. Florida and FAU will follow.

Miami advanced to the final by beating Rochester 7-0.

The semifinal win was not Miami’s best performance of the tournament, but it was its biggest outcome.

The Hurricanes won its quarterfinal game 8-2 and had four goals in each of their opening two games.

On Tuesday, Miami was relentless on the attack, converting 23 percent of their shots into goals.

Appropriately, they scored their first goal shorthanded.

After Mathieu Schneider was accosted while trying to defend his spot in front of Rochester’s goalie, Elian Estulin converted what would end up as one of three goals in a five-point day for the freshman.

Up 1-0 off his hard slapshot from the left side at 11:33 and Miami never looked back.

With 4:35 left in the first, Gunti Weissenberger doubled the lead to 2-0. 

In the first half of the second, it was Rochester that stifled any offensive chances. But with 11:24 left, Weissenberger added his second goal to make it 3-0 — and the Hurricanes woke up.

Estulin added his second at 14:02 to head to the break up 4-0.

The Hurricanes were held to nine shots in the period, a rare occurrence for a high shooting team. 

Rochester show little fight in the third, spending eight of the 20 minutes in the box.

Miami was able to capitalize, scoring two powerplay goals (Schneider at 8:57, Sam Stone at 14:34), and Estulin completed his hat trick with another slap shot to lead to the final score of 7-0.

Florida Southern was pitted in a much tighter match against Quincy College, winning 3-1

After a scoreless first period, the Mocs were gifted an early powerplay when Anthony Viera was called for holding. 

Michael Woll capitalized with his fourth goal of the tournament at 2:38 to open the scoring. 

The Granite thought it had scored on a loose puck they had slapped into the net, but the goal was disallowed after the ref lost sight of the puck.

Florida Southern added to their lead with 6:34 left, when Kaleb Van Horn added his first of the tournament to make it 2-0, but the game was far from over.

Quincy made things close in the third, when just 5:43 in, Joseph Hennessy brought them back within one, but that was as close at the Granite would get. 

With the net empty and 36 seconds left, Woll recorded the empty-netter.

In DII, Florida Atlantic will face a tough Florida team.

Both teams come into the final undefeated in the tournament, but in very different ways.

FAU has been tested throughout the tournament (5-2, 3-2, 4-2, 4-2, 4-3), while Florida cruised through pool play (7-0, 12-2, 5-0), and  won 6-4 in quarterfinals against Alabama-Huntsville, before dominating High Point 9-3.

The two teams met twice in the regular season, both at the Florida Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs.

The Gators won 4-1 February 2, and the Owls evened the score with a 4-3  win on February 3.

Florida got to the final by cruising past High Point 9-3, with 10 total goals coming in a wild second period.

The Gators converted on seven of their 16 shots in the period en route to the rout.

After scoring the first five goals in the first 12 minutes of the period, High Point scored three times to get back within striking distance.

Twenty-eight seconds after Michael Yelle made it 5-3, Connor Nicholson scored to make it 6-3 and a Michael McCoy goal brought them to the 7-goal threshold.

Kegan Lampinen scored his fourth and fifth of the tournament in the second, as well. 

Michael Katz also added a pair, scoring the game’s opener, and again in the third to make it 8-3, and Florida added another goal late. 

Meanwhile, FAU once sweated out another win, rallying to beat Tennessee 4-3.

It was the Volunteers getting on the board twice early to take a 2-0 lead.

Jacob Premo scored just 3:01 into the game, before many fans even took their seats.

Just 1:55 later, Connor Frazer doubled the lead, and FAU looked rattled and desperate. 

But the Owls never gave up. 

With 6:58 left in the first, Matias Weir reset his team with a goal to pull within one. The jump was back. 

The Owls scored four consecutive goals, with Griffin Bono scoring 3:30 into the second, and Jacob Friedman giving them a lead just 5:49 into the period.

The tables were turned.

With 3:34 left in the period, Myles Davidson added to the lead, scoring what would eventually be the game-winner, as Tennessee’s Tyler Iles cut into the lead with 1:58 left.

It was a white-knuckle 3rd period for FAU.

Their biggest scare came with 19 seconds left after Tennessee thought it tied the score.

Only, the puck stopped between goalie Rocco Bruno and the goal line in the blue paint.

Bruno sprawled under the puck to cover it up and keep it a 4-3 game, and with four seconds left, the Owls cleared it down the ice to end the game.

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