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Clemson swept by Tennessee, collects fifth straight loss

Caleb Browder // Alumnus
Forward Herb Kopf (24) looks for a rebound during Clemson’s game against Tennessee on Jan. 26.

The Clemson club ice hockey team collected its fourth and fifth consecutive losses against the Tennessee Volunteers last weekend, by a score of 5-2 on Jan. 26 and 2-1 on Jan. 27.

In Friday’s contest, Herb Kopf struck early in the first to give Clemson a 1-0 lead, assisted by captain Thomas Samuelsen. The Tigers maintained the difference for just under 12 minutes until Tennessee equalized with a goal from Michael Cosentino.

The Volunteers opened the middle frame with two goals — one at 7:58 and another at 14:34 — to take a 3-1 lead. Before the period’s end, Samuelsen cut Tennessee’s lead in half with his ninth goal of the 2023-2024 campaign.

Much to Clemson’s dismay, the Volunteers found the back of the net once again with 3:40 remaining in the final frame, nearly shattering the Tigers’ hopes of making a late comeback and forcing overtime.

In a last-minute attempt to gain some momentum, Clemson pulled goaltender Matt Caldwell to add a sixth attacker. Despite this effort, Tennessee punctuated its 5-2 win with an empty-net goal at 19:23.

The following day, it took the Volunteers just 1:11 to get on the board. The visitors maintained their one-goal lead until the 14:33 mark of the first period when Kopf netted his second goal of the weekend — and 14th of the season — to tie the score at 1-1.

Kopf’s goal would be the last one from either side of the ice during regulation. In 40 minutes of play, neither team successfully broke the deadlock, forcing the matchup into overtime.

Despite 40 minutes of intense play from both sides, Tennessee scored the game-winning goal just 53 seconds into the five-minute overtime period, taking home four points on the weekend.

Clemson looks to pick up its first win of the semester this Saturday as the Tigers travel to Charlotte, North Carolina, to take on the UNC Charlotte 49ers.

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Kelly Kaelblein, Asst. Sports Editor
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