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Clemson ice hockey has ‘statement win’ over Bishops, completes second upset

Lainie Noda
Santiago Diaz (88) sends the puck across the crease during Clemson’s game against Bishops on March 9.

WEST CHESTER, Pa. — The No. 11 Clemson club ice hockey team pulled off its second upset against No. 5 Bishop’s University on Saturday, taking the Gaiters down 8-1 to remain undefeated in the AAU DII National Tournament.

Coming off an upset over the No. 6 Liberty Flames, the Tigers had momentum on their side entering the contest. Clemson notched just one goal during the first period but went on to dominate the matchup, scoring seven more before the Gaiters got their first.

“As the 11 seed, we felt kind of disrespected,” Cade Heinold told the AAU after the game. “We thought we should be a higher seed. That was huge to come out and beat the number five team, 8-1. It was a huge statement win for us, and everybody pitched in. I’m just really proud of our group today.”

The lone goal of the opening frame came off the stick of team captain Thomas Samuelsen, who was assisted by Santiago Diaz, while Clemson was on the power play. Bishop’s took a penalty for high-sticking with 6:48 left in the first, and Samuelsen found the back of the net 28 seconds later.

Spearheaded by a four-goal second period, the Tigers erased the Gaithers’ chance of coming within striking distance. Graydon Schweizer kicked off the scoring with an unassisted goal less than two minutes into the frame, followed by Heinold’s 14th of the season from Herb Kopf to put the Tigers up 3-0.

Diaz added two goals of his own to close out the second period, one on the power play at 13:44 from Heinold and Herb Kopf and the other at 15:41 from Herb Kopf and Will Ralsten. Herb Kopf tallied four points during the contest without scoring a goal of his own.

Sully Kopf lit the lamp halfway through the third period, just moments before he was tackled by a Gaiter. His goal, assisted by Troy Gouveia and Ronan Bryant, extended Clemson’s lead to 6-0. Just 24 seconds after Sully Kopf scored, Heinold netted his second of the game.

“That’s my job, you know, to score goals,” Heinold said. “That (win) was really good for the team. And that win was for America, too. I mean, to beat the Canadian team felt good. It was just a fun win all around.”

Herb Kopf picked up his fourth assist and Samuelsen picked up his second point of the night on the play. Ralsten punctuated Clemson’s eight-goal lead with one of his own at 15:32, assisted by Will Van Sicklin.

Bishops narrowly avoided a shutout, collecting its first goal with 17 seconds left on the clock. Parker Dietz put on a show in the net for the Tigers, stopping 46 of the Gaiters’ 47 shots.

“It just matters what the scoreboard is at the end of the game,” Dietz said of his performance. “My job is to stop the puck. Their job is to score goals. And at the end of the day, we got it done.”

Clemson will close out its pool-play round on Sunday with a rematch against the No. 16 Vanderbilt Commodores.

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Kelly Kaelblein
Kelly Kaelblein, Asst. Sports Editor
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