Georgia hockey would not be denied in the final game of the College Hockey South playoffs, overcoming a late game deficit to win 4-2 over Florida Atlantic University on March 6.
The Bulldogs trailed by two scores with five minutes remaining in the second period. It was their largest deficit of the postseason, and it was also the longest they’d been held scoreless in these playoffs.
Georgia outscored Florida Atlantic 4-0 from that point in the game, including all three goals of Jackson Katz’s hat trick. Katz scored six goals throughout the CHS tournament, leading the Bulldogs in total points and propelling his team to a title in his final season with the group. The Bulldogs’ defense also played a role in their victory. The team has prided itself on being able to create offense from defense this season, and it paid off during the postseason push.
The Owls entered the CHS tournament as the conference’s second seed, so this was a matchup between the two odds-on favorites of the playoff field. FAU defeated Middle Tennessee State in the first round, then Alabama in the second round. The Owls only surrendered a single goal in each game, so the Bulldogs knew they would be facing a formidable opponent.
Georgia had just beaten Florida in the second round, a game in which the Bulldogs erased another second period deficit to snatch victory from their opponent. Georgia won 4-3, earning its first victory over the Gators on the season.
Georgia’s first playoff game was the team’s most decisive victory of the weekend, a 5-3 victory over Auburn, an opponent the Bulldogs had faced only a week prior to the playoffs. Georgia shut out the Tigers for the first two periods of the game, and Auburn scored all three goals in the final ten minutes of play, coming dangerously close to defeating the tournament’s first seed.
The tournament featured a pair of upsets in the first round, as Alabama defeated Georgia Tech and Florida toppled Clemson. The uncertainty in the field certainly played a factor for the remaining teams in the tournament, as the Bulldogs waited to learn who they’d be playing in the second round of the postseason.
The Bulldogs have one more stop before the end of their season. Westchester, Pennsylvania will host the 2022 Federation Cup National Championship Tournament, featuring 32 of the best teams in the league. From March 18-23, they’ll compete for the Federation Cup, and the right to be known as the best program in collegiate club hockey.
Georgia just won its fourth CHS title, and will attempt to convert this momentum into a successful run in Pennsylvania. For now, the Bulldogs will have to be content with a single set of championship gold.
Source: John James – The Red & Black