The Student News Site of Clemson University

The Tiger

The Tiger

The Tiger

Clemson ice hockey upsets Liberty in AAU National Tournament opener

Lainie Noda
Clemson celebrates a goal during its game against Liberty on March 8.

WEST CHESTER, Pa. — The Clemson club ice hockey team upset the No. 6 Liberty Flames on Friday with a 5-2 win in its first game of the 2024 AAU National Tournament.

Despite suffering an early deficit, the Tigers fought relentlessly to prevail against the Flames. Motivated by their desire to advance past the pool play round — something the team failed to do last season — the Tigers were determined to come out swinging in hopes of sweeping their opponents in pool play.

The Flames took a 1-0 lead just 21 seconds into the contest, but Clemson team captain Thomas Samuelsen evened the score two minutes later with help from Cade Heinold and Herb Kopf.

The final goal of the opening period came off the stick of Clemson’s Oliver Grinkin, his first of the season; Samuelsen and Herb Kopf picked up an assist to place the Tigers up 2-1.

The Flames erased Clemson’s lead midway through the second period with a power-play goal, but it didn’t take the Tigers long to bounce back as Ronan Bryant notched a third for the team, assisted by Sully Kopf and Troy Gouveia.

The middle frame was closed out by Will Ralsten, with help from Will Van Sicklin and Santiago Diaz, who scored an insurance goal to increase the lead to 4-2.

Sully Kopf placed an exclamation point on the Tigers’ 5-2 win with the lone goal of the final frame with under three minutes left. Gouveia and Samuelsen — who each had a three-point game — collected a point on the score.

“To start off the tournament like that is huge,” Ralsten said. “We had a tough first shift, and they popped one in early, but after that, we seemed to have all the momentum in the game. We’re going to be carrying it into the next two days and then hopefully the playoff round.”

The Tigers look to complete their second upset against the No. 5 Bishop’s University Gaiters for their second game of the pool play round.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Tiger

Your donation will support the student journalists of Clemson University . Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Kelly Kaelblein
Kelly Kaelblein, Asst. Sports Editor
Donate to The Tiger

Comments (0)

All The Tiger Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *