Florida State put up a touchdown against Florida on the Savannah Civic Center scoreboard Saturday night. Well, not really. But the Seminoles easily skated past the Gators 6-0 in a sport not exactly associated with the state - hockey - in the Memorial Health Hockey Classic. A crowd of 500 saw the opening puck drop and the crowd grew to nearly 4,000 before the Georgia-Georgia Tech nightcap.

"This is always the highlight of our season," FSU coach Jamie Haskell said. "Just the response we get here for playing the game we love."

There was even a bigger response during a game-ending brawl that involved six players.

"We've played (Florida) three times and the games are always hard-fought."

FSU sophomore center Stephen Halczyn and linemate Howie Stoughton both finished with two goals and an assist. John Wirka and Craig Leduc had one goal apiece. Freshman goalie Jason Goodwin registered 20 saves en route to FSU's first shutout over Florida since 1999. According to Haskell, Goodwin was at his best in the third period when Florida peppered the goal with 10 shots, leading to many excellent scoring chances.

It was an impressive performance from a group that was blanked 7-0 by Georgia Tech on Friday night. "We usually play a lot better Saturday night than Friday," Haskell said.

There's a good reason for that. Tallahassee hasn't had a hockey rink since 2001 when the city's semipro team the Tiger Sharks left. The Sharks played in Leon County Civic Center. Haskell said his club travels 3.5 hours to Orlando to practice - maybe once a semester.

The 'Noles warmed up in the second period after a scoreless opening 20 minutes. They outshot the Gators 16-5 in the period while establishing a clear dominance. Halczyn scored in a scramble around the net at 13:23. Six minutes later, Wirka poked in a rebound of Leduc's one-timer from the slot. Halczyn added his second goal early in the third period. Stoughton followed with two scores, the second a power-play goal during a two-man advantage. Leduc finished the scoring with 58 seconds left. A brawl broke out just as the horn rang ending the spirited contest.

It was the third straight win for the Seminoles over the Gators this season. "We'll see each other two more times," Haskell said. "I'm sure those games will be just as tough."


Copyright © 2006 All Rights Reserved