Ice Dawgs Dominate Home Opener

Ice Dawgs Dominate Home Opener

By: Tyler Farmer

            Thursday night was undoubtedly a notable one in Ice Dawgs history. After three games away from the friendly confines of the Classic Center, the Ice Dawgs finally had their home opener. Pregame, the 2016-2017 SECHC Championship banner was unveiled. The ceremonial puck drop was performed by Trent Woods, the son of the late Georgia icon Mike “Big Dawg” Woods. Mike was beloved by Bulldog Nation for painting the bulldog logo on his head, and it was truly a special moment to see Trent continue to honor the memory and legacy of his father.

These events provided a unique environment for the home opener, and the Ice Dawgs didn’t disappoint the 1,300 fans in attendance at Akins Ford Arena. The first period got off to a slow start until junior left winger Carter Penzien notched the first goal of the game, assisted by sophomore defenseman Aaron Phillips, just before the midway point of the period to give Georgia an early lead.  Clemson quickly answered back with a goal of their own to tie the game up with 7:03 remaining in the first period. The Ice Dawgs responded with a goal by senior forward Alex Carey, assisted by senior center Zach Flasch.  Sophomore left winger Caleb Santa Maria scored with an assist from his brother, junior center Christopher Santa Maria, to extend the Ice Dawgs lead to 3-1 with 1:46 remaining in the first. Clemson sliced the lead in half with just 23 seconds remaining in the period. At the end of the first period, the Ice Dawgs led 3-2.

Clemson’s momentum from their late first period goal was short-lived to say the least. The physicality picked up in the second period. Both teams had several bone-crushing hits. There were no penalties by either team in the first period, but there five total penalties in the second: three committed by Clemson and two by Georgia. The Ice Dawgs were efficient on the power-play, scoring twice with a man advantage. Carter Penzien tallied his second goal of the night on the power-play, assisted by Phillips and Caleb Santa Maria, to capitalize on a Clemson slashing penalty. With 11:14 left in the second period, Penzian completed his hat trick, on assists by Flasch and freshman defenseman Nick Puglisi. At the 10:08 mark, Caleb Santa Maria scored an unassisted goal for the the Ice Dawgs third unanswered goal, while a Clemson player was in the sin bin due to an interference penalty. Clemson cut their deficit to 6-3 with a power-play goal with 8:55 to go in the second period. Caleb Santa Maria secured a hat trick several minutes later on a goal assisted by senior defensemen Cameron Gilmore. The Ice Dawgs went into the second intermission with a 7-3 lead.

With the game well in hand, the Ice Dawgs continued to exert their will over Clemson throughout the third period. Penzien decided three goals weren’t enough and added a nifty short-handed goal, assisted by Carey and Gilmore.  Late in the third period, freshman defenseman Kyle Harris got in on the fun with an assist from Christopher Santa Maria and junior defenseman Drew Holcombe. Seconds later, Clemson scored an entirely meaningless fourth goal. Junior center David Speilberger provided the exclamation point by scoring the 10th Ice Dawgs goal on an assist by Holcombe.  Final: 10-4 Ice Dawgs on Top!



Key Takeaways

  • The Ice Dawgs never trailed in the game.
  • This is the first time this season the Ice Dawgs have scored double digit goals.
  • Georgia’s physical play, especially in the second period, set the tone.


Three Stars

  1. Carter Penzien- 4 goals
  2. Caleb Santa Maria- 3 goals
  3. Alex Carey- 1 goal, 1 assist



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