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Clemson ice hockey team remains hopeful despite loss to Georgia

Ellie Godwin
Forward Sully Kopf dives after a shot on goal during Clemson’s game against South Carolina on Jan. 28, 2023.

The Clemson club ice hockey team fell short in its season debut against Georgia on Friday, Sept. 9, by a score of 3-1.

The Tigers’ only goal came within the game’s final two minutes when forward Sully Kopf tipped in a shot from defenseman Christian Romeo while the Tigers were on a powerplay.

Georgia opened the scoring with 4:21 left in the first period with a 2-on-1 breakaway. The Bulldogs tallied their other two goals during the middle period, one with 17:21 left and another at the halfway mark.

“I think, as a team, we didn’t let off the gas and grinded until the end,” Kopf said after the game. “Parker (Dietz) played great in net tonight and helped us stay in that game.”

In Dietz’s first-ever game with Clemson, he saved 33 of the Bulldogs’ 36 shots — an impressive feat, as this season marks Georgia’s inaugural season as an AAU Division 1 club team, while Clemson remains at the Division 2 level.

Clemson had 11 of the game’s 21 total penalties, giving Georgia too many chances to increase its lead. Four penalties occurred simultaneously shortly before the Bulldogs scored their second goal; both teams released some frustration with an altercation that left three players from either team huddled close together for two uncomfortable minutes in the penalty box.

Luckily for the Tigers, their defense held its own on the penalty kill. Georgia only managed to get the puck past Dietz once while on the man advantage — despite collecting 21 minutes of powerplay time during the game.

“We were just a step behind all game,” Kopf said. “And our D-zone was a little sloppy. But with a couple more practices, we will be good.”

Clemson is not discouraged by the loss. In fact, the team is hopeful for the remainder of the season.

“The team’s expectations are high,” Kopf added. “We have a new coaching staff who want us to succeed and are gonna bring the intensity all year, and I think we will benefit from that greatly.”

The Tigers will seek their first win of the season when they host Florida State on Sept. 22.

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Kelly Kaelblein, Asst. Sports Editor
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