The University of Georgia Hockey team won the 2019 South Eastern Collegiate Hockey Conference Championship last weekend in Nashville, Tennessee after defeating Ole Miss in the championship game of the tournament 4-2.
The Ice Dawgs went in to the tournament as the No. 1 seed and the favorite to win the Kenneth “Sarge” Day Championship Cup, and they never let the pressure get to them. The Ice Dawgs went 3-0 on the weekend, and Chris Santa Maria led the way earning MVP honors.
“This was my last tournament and I really wanted to win going into this weekend, and to win the MVP is just the cherry on top,” Chris Santa Maria said.
Georgia started off the tournament with a 14-0 win over Tennessee on Friday afternoon. Chris Santa Maria led the way for the Ice Dawgs finding the net for multiple goals. Caleb Santa Maria also scored a hat trick against the volunteers.
An Arkansas win over Florida set up a game against the 2018 SECHC Championship Razorbacks. Georgia jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first period behind goals from Chris Keresztes and Carter Penzien. Caleb Santa Maria added a goal of his own in the second period, and Penzien rounded out the scoring in the final period to make the score 4-0. The Ice Dawgs got a solid performance out of sophomore goalie Brady Mulligan.
The win over Arkansas advanced the Ice Dawgs to the championship game for a matchup against No. 2 seed Ole Miss. Ole Miss scored two goals in the first period to take an early lead, but the Ice Dawgs were able to cut the lead down with a Chris Santa Maria goal late in the first.
The second period belonged to the Santa Maria brothers with both Caleb and Chris scoring goals to give the Ice Dawgs the lead. After that, it was all Georgia with Brady Mulligan making some saves in net, and Carter Penzien adding a third period goal to extend the lead to 4-2.
“Taking that hardware home is something special to all of us, and that goal just happened to help, but more importantly the guys are happy and we won,” Penzien said.
Georgia has now won three of the last four SECHC Championships. The Ice Dawgs had four players named to the All-SECHC team. Seniors Chris Santa Maria and Carter Penzien were named first team all-conference, while Caleb Santa Maria and Kyle Harris were named second team.
The Ice Dawgs will face off against the University of Tampa at Clearwater Ice Arena on February 15 & 16.