Dawgs Defend Thrasher Cup
By: Tyler Farmer
Coming into the 20th annual Savannah Tire Hockey Classic on a 12-game winning streak, the Ice Dawgs were the favorites to repeat as Thrasher Cup champs. The tournament field also included Georgia Tech, Florida, and Florida State, so multiple rivalry games created an electric environment in the Savannah Civic Center throughout the weekend.
The Ice Dawgs played Florida and Georgia Tech on Friday and Saturday night, respectively. The Florida game began as a defensive battle, with the score knotted up at 1 going into the second period. Senior forward Tanner Woodson scored the lone Ice Dawg goal in the period. Florida dominated the second period, scoring four unanswered to take a commanding 5-1 lead.
Late in the frame, senior center Zach Flasch scored to stop the bleeding going into the third period. Georgia responded with a run of its own in the third period. Goals by senior defenseman Cam Gilmore and senior forward Alex Carey cut the Florida lead to one with 11:46 remaining in regulation. Just over a minute later, Florida answered back to extend its lead again. Flasch tallied his second goal of the game to get Georgia back within striking distance with 11 seconds to go.
Unfortunately, the Ice Dawgs valiant comeback came up short; Florida added an empty-net goal to win the tournament opener 7-5.
After a rocky start, the Ice Dawgs needed to bounce back strong against Georgia Tech, and some help, to win the cup. Assuming teams had the same record at the end of the tournament, the tie breakers used were goals allowed and goals scored (if necessary).
Georgia Tech, after a 12-4 win against Florida State, and Florida both controlled their own respective destinies after Friday’s games. Florida State helped Georgia greatly by beating Florida 8-3. As a result, the Ice Dawgs needed to beat Georgia Tech by four or more goals, while allowing five or less to take home the Thrasher Cup.
Sophomore defenseman Aaron Phillips, assisted by freshman defenseman Dylan Ferguson, gave the Ice Dawgs an early lead at the 16:30 mark in the first period. Georgia Tech tied the game close to the halfway point. With 4:08 to go, junior left-winger Carter Penzien notched an unassisted goal to give Georgia a 2-1 advantage. The lead, however, was short-lived as Georgia Tech once again tied the game 28 seconds later.
At a deadlock after the first 20 minutes, the Ice Dawgs smothered the Yellow Jacket offense for the remainder of regulation. Sophomore center Austin Krusko put the Ice Dawgs up 3-2, just past the halfway point of the middle frame. Carey lit the lamp with the 23 seconds remaining in the period to seize all momentum. Penzien assisted on both goals and Georgia was up 4-2 going into the second intermission.
Though Georgia controlled the game, for a while it looked like the Thrasher Cup would be going to Atlanta for the time since 2012. Remember, Georgia had to win by four or more goals; otherwise, Georgia Tech would win via the tie breaker. Flasch scored with 2:36 remaining. At this point, if the score remained the same, both teams would have given up nine goals, but Georgia Tech would still win the goals scored tiebreaker. It is only fitting, as a senior and captain, that Carey scored with a minute and a half left to secure the win and the Thrasher Cup. Penzien assisted on both goals, and Flasch assisted on the tournament-winner as well.
Did You Know?
- Georgia now owns the most Thrasher Cup titles, eight, breaking a tie with Georgia Tech.
- Freshman defenseman Kyle Harris won tournament MVP.
- Uga, our beloved mascot, was in attendance this weekend.