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The Palmetto Cup: The rivalry on ice

Leah Marie Pereira
Captain Thomas Samuelsen takes a faceoff during Clemson’s game against South Carolina on Nov. 10.

For as long as both can remember, the Clemson and South Carolina club ice hockey teams have battled against each other three times per season, a series which both have deemed the “Palmetto Cup.” The team that wins at least two of the matchups takes home the Palmetto Cup for that year.

In its last nine seasons, Clemson is 6-15-2 against the Gamecocks. The most recent time the Tigers won the Cup was during the 2016-2017 season when they defeated South Carolina 7-3 on Nov. 4, 2016, and 2-0 on Nov. 19, 2016. Though Clemson hasn’t taken home the trophy in a handful of seasons, the cross-state rivalry is alive and well.

This year, Clemson played two of three games against the Gamecocks on Nov. 3 and Nov. 10. The Nov. 10 matchup ended in an overtime loss but proved to Clemson its own durability. The Tigers played their most complete sequence of hockey all season during the second period. Clemson killed four penalties — including a 4-on-3 — and went two for two on the power play, featuring power-play goals from Cade Heinold and Christian Romeo and an even-strength goal off the stick of Ronan Bryant.

The matchup was Clemson’s first time forcing South Carolina into overtime since Feb. 21, 2020. Clemson captain Thomas Samuelsen — who currently leads the team in career goals against South Carolina with five — had three points with two goals and one assist in that 2020 game.

Last winter, Samuelsen said, “It has been a long time since the Cup has been back in Clemson, and we want to be the guys to do it,” a sentiment that remains true for the team today and will motivate them in the coming seasons.

Clemson looks forward to its third matchup with the Gamecocks on Feb. 23, 2024.

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Kelly Kaelblein
Kelly Kaelblein, Asst. Sports Editor
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