By Delaney Rigdon
On September 22, the Ice Dawgs took to the road and traveled to the Atlanta IceForum to face off against their instate rivals, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
The team extended their win streak to three games after defeating Georgia Tech 6-1.
The first period got off to a slow start for the Ice Dawgs. A minor penalty from Tyler Stewart had Georgia Tech on an early powerplay, testing the Dawg’s penalty kill.
The Yellow Jackets could not find momentum during the man advantage, nearly giving up a short-handed breakaway goal and not maintaining offensive zone pressure.
After a bad turnover by Tech behind their own net, sophomore forward Will Donato got on the board for the Ice Dawgs with an assist from freshman Jake Green, notching a goal about half way through the first period.
This goal marks Donato’s second as an Ice Dawg after scoring last week in the rivalry game against South Carolina.
“Throughout the game I had a great time on the ice, and felt like our team chemistry really developed as the game progressed,” Donoto said. “It was huge to pop the first goal but I have to give credit to my line-mates for helping to make the play possible.”
During the remainder of the period the Ice Dawgs were able to keep Tech’s zone time to a minimum, ending the first with a 1-0 lead.
The intensity and physicality of the first carried over into the second in this rivalry game.
“At Georgia Tech is one of our favorite games of the year. This rivalry’s history speaks for itself and they always have a great crowd. Tonight was no exception,” said team captain and club president Robby Witwer.
The second period started with another Tech powerplay. Goaltender Nick Newbold was able to keep the puck out of the net with a string of saves as penalty time expired.
Five minutes into the period, after a blocked shot, senior forward David Eberly was able to win the puck battle on the glass and stuff the puck past the goaltender, extending the lead to 2-0.
Freshman forward Nate Haley kept the offense going for the Dawgs, scoring his first collegiate career goal to extend the lead to three.
“Even though it was just a tap in goal, it was a breathtaking feeling,” Haley said. “I have my teammates to thank for that, who made it feel that much more special. Even though we’re only three weeks into the season, I can tell it’s going to be a noteworthy one.”
Sophomore defenseman Truman Haugen scored from the point halfway through the period, with help from a screen from Donoto in front of the net.
The Yellow Jackets were able to capitalize on a powerplay, bringing the score to 4-1 with time dwindling down in the second period.
With just seconds remaining in the second period, freshman forward James Hedquist added another goal for the Dawgs with an assist from senior defenseman Lleyton Poole.
The Ice Dawgs ended the second with a controlling 5-1 lead.
The third period proved to be a back and forth battle between the two teams. The only goal of the period came two minutes in from senior forward and assistant captain Josh Mesaros.
After a dominant performance by the Ice Dawgs against Tech, the team emerged victorious with a final score of 6-1.
The Dawgs will rematch Georgia Tech on November 5th at Gas South Arena, before the ECHL Atlanta Gladiators take on the South Carolina Stingrays.
“It definitely felt good to silence that crowd. We are looking forward to round two in November in the Battle of Georgia at Gas South Arena,” Witwer said.
The Ice Dawgs will be back on the road this weekend as they travel to Columbus Ice Rink to face off against Auburn on Friday, September 29, and Sunday, October 1.