Late Heroics Save Dawgs
By: Tyler Farmer
Saturday’s game against South Florida was one of monumental importance for both team’s postseason aspirations. The top two teams in each region receive automatic bids to nationals. Coming into the game, Georgia and USF were ranked #2 and #3 in the South region, respectively. While there’s a lot of hockey left to be played, this game will play a huge role in the fight for those coveted national bids.
The first period was a defensive struggle. The Ice Dawgs controlled the tempo and possession for the majority of the frame, but they were unable to capitalize on their scoring chances. At the 7:09 mark, USF drew first blood on the power-play for the lone goal of the period.
Though Georgia had a significant edge in shots on goal, South Florida continued to be efficient with its opportunities. With 16:07 remaining in the second period, USF extended the lead to 2-0.
After several quality chances, junior forward Christopher Santa Maria got the Ice Dawgs on the board, with assists from junior forward David Spielberger and sophomore forward Austin Krusko. Santa Maria’s goal energized the crowd at the unique outdoor environment at the Foundry Pavilion, but USF regrouped to take a 3-1 lead with 3:31 remaining. In desperate need of a spark, junior left-winger Carter Penzien answered back with a power-play goal just a minute later. Senior forward Alex Carey assisted on the play.
After a USF cross-checking penalty, senior forward Zach Flasch tailed Georgia’s second power-play goal in a span of two minutes. Santa Maria and Carey assisted on the goal. Now with all the momentum, Georgia answered the bell at the end of the second period.
The beginning of the final frame looked eerily similar to the first. Georgia controlled possession and had scoring chances, but they were unable to light the lamp. With 9:47 remaining in regulation, South Florida regained the lead. Just 15 seconds later, however, Penzien notched his second goal of the night on an assist by freshman defenseman Kyle Harris. As postseason play potentially hung in the balance, Carey gave the Ice Dawgs their first and only lead with 1:07 left. Penzien and Flasch provided the assists. Defensively, Georgia smothered USF’s last gasps to win a Saturday night thriller 5-4!
- Senior goalie Andrew Webb made a huge save on a breakaway in the first period.
- A strong power-play unit helped Georgia seize momentum late in the second period.
- The upperclassmen trio of Carey, Flasch, and Penzien paced the Ice Dawgs offensively.
- Carter Penzien: 2 goals, 1 assist
- Alex Carey: 1 goal, 2 assist
- Zach Flasch: 1 goal, 1 assist