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Bulls’ goalie stands tall in win over UT

USF hockey defeated the Tampa Spartans for the first time this season Saturday night. USF Hockey/Xoe Bergman

WESLEY CHAPEL — Senior goalie Samuel Coleman allowed six goals on Friday. 

The next day he faced 44 shots, saving all but two.

A fortress in net proved to be what was needed to spur USF hockey to a 4-2 victory in this weekend’s second edition of the “Battle of the Bay” against the Tampa Spartans on Saturday at AdventHealth Center Ice.

“Wanted to bounce back after last night, didn’t have my best game, so I wanted to make sure that this one counted,” Coleman said.

In the opening 10 minutes alone, Coleman faced 14 shots. One slipped past him on a UT power play at the 3:31 mark of the first period, putting the Spartans ahead.

After the Spartans’ first goal, the momentum shifted in their favor and UT controlled much of the first period. A lapse in concentration in the USF net could’ve added to the Spartans’ goal tally in the first.

But Coleman held firm and kept UT from scoring again until the final minutes of the game.

It’s all down to a mental game, according to Coleman.

“You’ve got to be locked in the whole game,” Coleman said. “All it takes is one play down the other way and you’re down a goal … you gotta stay in it.”

While Coleman’s defensive game kept the USF net on lockdown, the Bulls shifted gears and finished the second period with 20 shots on goal, 13 more than they had in the first. 

One of those shots found the back of the net from sophomore Andrew Miranda, drawing the Bulls level with under two minutes to play in the second.

Miranda’s goal sparked three more from the Bulls in the final period.

Senior Mitchell Campbell scored the third, and ultimately game-winning, USF goal. Senior Kenny Weightman scored the fourth on an empty net to ice the Spartans’ chances.

“Went in just trying to get shots on net,” Campbell said. “Luckily, the bounce went our way.”

This was the fourth time the Bulls have played the Spartans this season. The previous three ended in a loss, a draw and a loss. In both losses, the Bulls were a goal short.

Not only was this the first win over the No. 1-ranked Spartans this season, but the Bulls also won by two goals.

A win in this fashion is a statement, according to Campbell.

“Beating UT shows that we can compete with anyone in this league,” Campbell said. “Moving ahead, it’s definitely a good feeling to get the win.”