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Clemson gets revenge win over Vanderbilt, advances to quarterfinals

Lainie Noda
Clemson celebrates a goal during its game against Vanderbilt on March 10.

WEST CHESTER, Pa. — The Clemson club ice hockey team defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores on March 10, 3-2, to sweep all three of its pool play opponents and clinch a spot in the AAU National Tournament quarterfinals for the first time in program history.

After getting swept by the Commodores earlier this season, the Tigers were ready for revenge.

Clemson opened the scoring less than 10 minutes into the first period when Ronan Bryant whizzed the puck top-shelf with help from Sully Kopf. Less than a minute later, Santiago Diaz netted his third goal of the tournament, assisted by Will Ralsten, adding a cushion to Clemson’s narrow lead.

The Commodores slung home their first goal — and the only score of the period — just 36 seconds into the middle frame. With pressure zeroing in on both sides, neither team found the back of the net again until Clemson defenseman Charles DuBose netted the game-winner with 3:39 left on the clock, assisted by Christian Romeo.

Vanderbilt gave the Tigers a run for their money, fighting hard until the very last second. With 46 seconds remaining, the Commodores slung home their second goal of the contest to bring the score within one. However, this time, Clemson’s lead was too great to overcome.

“They beat us twice in the regular season,” Bryant said after the game. “We knew they were a really good team. They played really hard. And I mean, we’ve been playing really well. We’re on top of our game right now, but we knew they were gonna give us a fight. We have a lot of respect for those guys.”

The following day, Clemson — reseeded as No. 6 — faced off against the No. 3 High Point Panthers in the quarterfinals. In a cat-and-mouse style matchup, the Tigers ultimately fell short, 6-4, when the Panthers netted the game-winner with 1:43 left in the contest. One minute later, High Point topped off its win with an empty-net goal to end Clemson’s season.

The Tigers boasted a 3-1-0 record in the AAU National Tournament and an impressive 14-11-1 regular season record, marking the team’s most successful season in program history.

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Kelly Kaelblein
Kelly Kaelblein, Asst. Sports Editor
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