By Macy Linder
On Nov. 11, the University of Georgia Ice Dawgs traveled to Huntsville, Alabama to compete in the Veterans Cup tournament.
Georgia vs. Alabama
In the first game of the tournament, Georgia defeated Alabama 3-1 in a hard fought match.
During the 2021-2022 season, the Ice Dawgs defeated Alabama in the two regular season games, but fell 4-2 when competing in the Federation Cup in Pennsylvania.
The Georgia team continued to have “a bad taste in their mouths” from the most recent matchup against the Tide, which made this a revenge game for the Ice Dawgs.
“The guys really wanted to rally around this game, it was kind of like a revenge tour to get back at them for knocking us out of nationals. I think we did a solid job against them, we had some turnovers but after talking in the locker room we fixed it and got back out there and scored those two goals in the third,” said sophomore goalie Ryan Testino.
The first period was a battle of dominance for the Ice Dawgs.
Junior forward Daniel Crawford scored the first and only goal of the first period with an assist by freshman defenseman Truman Haugen.
However, the Ice Dawgs lead in the first period did not last for long, as the Frozen Tide evened the playing field and made it a tied game, 1-1.
Going into the second period both teams seemed evenly matched up on both defense and offense. The struggle for a front runner seemed apparent in this period with neither team scoring a goal.
Neither team was able to break the 1-1 tie in the second period.
Things seemed to shift in the Ice Dawgs’ favor in the third period with an offensive blast.
Two goals were scored by the Ice dawgs in the third from junior forward Josh Mesaros and junior forward Case Santa Maria.
“We knew going into the Bama game that we were going to control our own destiny and that all we had to do was to go 2-0 and then we would win the tournament,” said club President and senior forward Cameron Campbell.
After Georgia’s win against Alabama, the team had one more game in the tournament and looked to bring the Veterans Cup back to Athens, Georgia.
Georgia vs. Georgia Tech
In the second game of the tournament the Ice Dawgs faced the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Both teams were undefeated in the tournament, but after a hard fought matchup, the Ice Dawgs won 3-1.
Earlier in the season the Ice Dawgs defeated the Yellow Jackets 9-3 in Duluth, Georgia in a regular season game.
The Ice Dawgs and Georgia Tech have always had a colorful rivalry between the two prestigious schools which makes their matchups very competitive.
“Tech always gives us their best, even though we did blow them out earlier in the season. We can’t expect to have that every time we play them because it’s always a tough game. So the guys did a great job this weekend of just sticking to what we do best and getting two big wins,” Campbell said.
The first period was a battle between the two teams, but the Ice Dawgs established a lead on the Yellow Jackets with a goal by Mesaros, assisted by senior forward Matthew Bigda and freshman defenseman Bill Martin.
At the end of the first period the Ice Dawgs lead the Yellow Jackets 1-0.
The second period was as much of a battle as the previous, but yet again the Ice Dawgs remained on top with another goal being scored.
The second Georgia goal of the game was scored by freshman forward Evan Parente, extending the lead to 2-0.
The third period was eventful for the Ice Dawgs with the Yellow Jackets scoring early within the period.
In the middle of the period, gameplay was stopped for thirty minutes due to a rogue puck flying and bursting a pipe which resulted in water leaking onto the rink.
Even with the delay, the Ice dawgs showed no mercy on the Yellowjackts and held them off on multiple goal attempts.
Despite the Yellow Jackets scoring and the delay, a goal by freshman forward Dylan Punzenberger sealed the deal for the Ice Dawgs to maintain their lead and remain in control.
After the hard fought matchup the Ice Dawgs got to claim the tournament’s cup and bring it to its rightful place in Athens, Georgia.
Head coach and general manager John Camp said the team’s performance was good considering they were missing two starters.
“Guys were playing on lines that they typically hadn’t played on before. So the fact that they were able to gel pretty quickly was a good sign,” Camp said.
The Veteran’s Cup tournament, held in Huntsville, Alabama is to honor and celebrate our veterans for the sacrifices they have made for this country.
“Anytime we play a tournament, it’s got a little bit of an extra meaning to it. And I think the fact that it was a Veterans Day tournament adds extra meaning,” Camp said. “We started last year with the Veterans Day tournament in Macon and moved it to Huntsville this year, and we lost out last year. So I think there was a little extra motivation this year, especially considering Alabama was the first opponent. They knocked us out of the national championship. And you know, we always have the hate game with Tech.”
There were four teams in the tournament: Georgia Ice Dawgs, Alabama Frozen Tide, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the Auburn Tigers.
The Ice Dawgs placed first in the tournament, Georgia Tech secured second, Alabama finished third and Auburn finished the tournament fourth.
This weekend the Ice Dawgs will travel to South Carolina to compete against Clemson and Coastal Carolina. The Dawgs will play Clemson on November 18th at 10 p.m. and Coastal Carolina on the 19th at 9:30 p.m.