The Georgia Ice Dogs skated into Knoxville without four of their starters this weekend, and escaped Friday night with a hard fought 6-5 win over the Ice Vols of Tennessee. Peter Kacer netted a natural hat-trick with three consecutive goals in the second period as Georgia tallied off 5 unanswered goals after going down 3-1.
Junior transfer Kyle Blankenship added two goals and defensive leader Ryan Terrana had the eventual game winning highlight reel goal midway thru the third period. Vince DiCarlo was outstanding in the Georgia net stopping 28 of 33 Tennessee shots, many right on the doorstep of the Dawgs goal crease.
Georgia traveled to Louisville, KY to take on the D2 Cardinals on Saturday evening. The Dawgs outplayed the deeper benched Cardinals for most of the game, out-shooting Louisville 46-31 on the night. The first five minutes of the third period netted two goals for Louisville that ended up the difference of the game. Cardinals goaltender Kyle Burdoff was stellar in the Louisville nets turning away 43 of the Dawgs 46 shots and stymieing several Georgia power play opportunities and odd-man rushes. Senior Paul Connors made several big saves for UGA as he kept the Dawgs in the game turning away several flurries in front of Georgia net. Kacer added two more goals Saturday night, while freshman Rick Fiorillo scored a beautiful backhand goal to start the third period rally for Georgia.
“It was an incredible effort from our players this weekend – a team effort that was worthy of two wins,” head coach John Hoos commented about the weekend. “We just came up against a hot goaltender at Louisville and couldn’t capitalize on the opportunities we generated. A few bad bounces and a questionable goal call didn’t help, but those are things we can’t control.” In the third period against Louisville a rebound shot bounced over Connors and was cleared by Terrana apparently before it entered the Georgia goal, but was signaled as a goal by the referee. “It definitely didn’t go in,” commented a visibly frustrated Terrana after the game.
Despite the bad breaks in Louisville, there was an aura of positive energy following the weekend. “A loss is never an acceptable outcome, but we really came together as a group and discovered what we are capable of. We had some guys really step up and some guys really logged some playing minutes. It was good to see the team rallying around each other, and some guys finding their game and others contributing in important roles and making an impact. We take what we did this weekend, improve in areas and move forward focusing on our next weekend’s games.”
Georgia will take on Georgia State on Friday night after a schedule change from originally scheduled Appalachian State, and another SEC battle with much improved Vanderbilt on Saturday night at the IceForum.