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Clemson ice hockey falls to in-state rival South Carolina

Ellie Godwin, Provided

Coach Isaiah Jackson talks with the team on the bench during the game against Georgia Tech on Oct. 7. 

In the first of three games against in-stave rival South Carolina, the Clemson ice hockey team lost to the Gamecocks 5-4 in Irmo, South Carolina, last Friday.
Looking for their first win over the Gamecocks since 2016, the Tigers suffered in a rough and tumble game featuring 12 total penalties. In the loss, Clemson was outshot 42-27, with much of the game being spent on the power play for both teams.
The opening period had four total penalties, evenly split between both teams. Despite the man advantages, neither team capitalized on either of their power play opportunities.
Still, Clemson found the net early when centerman Mike McKeon scored the only goal of the first period on an odd-man rush, assisted by left winger Sully Kopf and centerman Jack Owen-Turner. This was the Tigers’ only even-strength goal of the game.
Things then picked up in the second period.
With 16:59 left in the period, South Carolina right winger Nicholas Kaye responded to McKeon’s goal off a pass from behind the net, evening the score at 1-1. 
The Gamecocks took four penalties alone during the middle period, two of which Clemson’s power play unit scored on.
Centerman Nicholas Chesare scored the first power play goal with 13:39 remaining in the period, assisted by right winger Herbert Kopf. Defenseman Thomas Samuelsen scored the second power play goal for the Tigers, off an assist by left winger Cade Heinold, with just under six minutes left.
However, South Carolina would score at the halfway point in the period and two more times before the end, taking a 4-3 lead over Clemson at the end of the second period.
The Gamecocks opened the scoring in the third period as well, increasing their lead to 5-3 on a power play goal from defenseman Sean Reid. 
Down by two, the Tigers fought hard during the final minutes of the period in an attempt to equalize the score, and even pulled goaltender JP Kerney from the net to add another attacker. During this man advantage, Clemson defenseman Brian Blomquist scored, bringing the Tigers’ deficit to just one score. 
Despite constant pressure, South Carolina was able to fend off Clemson for the victory over its in-state rival.
The next game between the Tigers and the Gamecocks is set to take place on Jan. 28, which will be a home game for Clemson.
An earlier version of this article originally called the matchup between the Tigers and Gamecocks a two-game series instead of three matchups that take place throughout the entire season. The Tiger regrets this error and has since corrected it.

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