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Clemson ice hockey team opens season with split record

Ellie Godwin, Provided

The Clemson club ice hockey team huddles together during its game against Christopher Newport on Sept. 16, 2022. 

The Clemson Club Ice Hockey team opened its 2022-23 season with a 4-3 win over the Christopher Newport Captains on Friday, Sept. 16th. 
Clemson scored early in the first period with a goal by defenseman Thomas Samuelsen, assisted by centerman Patrick O’Brien.
However, Christopher Newport would respond, scoring twice following Samuelsen’s goal.
Chistopher Newport’s Zach Adra was unassisted in his first goal for the Captains with less than five minutes remaining in the first period, evening the score to 1-1.
Shortly after, Clemson centerman Graydon Schweizer received a hooking penalty. With less than two minutes left in the opening period, defenseman Ian Hall, assisted by centerman Kendall Nemish, gave Christopher Newport the 2-1 lead with a power play goal. 
“Christopher Newport came back and scored two quick goals, and we were down,” Clemson head coach Isaiah Jackson said. “We just had to reset in the locker room and realize that we were the better team. We just had to focus and play our game.”
Almost identical to the first period, Clemson defenseman Samuelsen scored his second goal of the night on a power play within the first six minutes of the second period, assisted by right-winger Herbert Kopf. The Captain’s defenseman Ian Hall took a two-minute penalty for slashing, which allowed the Tigers to even the score. 
“(It’s) a welcome back season for him,” Jackson said about Samuelsen. “(He) didn’t play last year but started the season strong with two goals. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does the rest of the season.”
With approximately eight and a half minutes left in the second period, Clemson took the 3-2 lead over Christopher Newport with a goal from Schweizer.
“Very exciting to get my first game under my belt,” Schweizer said after the win. “First goal, too.” 
The second period featured quite a few penalties, resulting in three power plays for the Tigers, which was a key factor in the Clemson win.
After allowing two penalties in the first period, Clemson shaped up its special teams and did not receive a single penalty in the remaining two periods.
“(We were) able to keep (our power plays) in-zone, and keep pressure on [the other team] constantly,” Schweizer added. “I thought our special teams were the difference maker tonight.” 
Christopher Newport’s frustration became evident in the third period, when the Captains had two additional penalties, bringing their game total to five.
With less than six minutes remaining, left-winger Cade Heinold gave the Tigers their fourth goal of the night, assisted by Kopf and centerman Nicholas Chesare. 
The Captains were not finished scoring just yet. Christopher Newport scored its third and final goal of the night with less than two minutes remaining. Nemish, assisted by forward Zach Adra, brought the score to 4-3. 
However, the Tigers were able to weather the storm and held on for the win.
“In the third period, we just finished strong with a sandpaper finish,” Jackson said after the win. “It was really strong.”
Following the game, Jackson was thrilled with the win but acknowledged there is room for improvement.
“Great start to the season. You can’t ask more than for a win,” Jackson said. “Obviously, a lot of things we can work on, but with minimal practice before, I think the guys played together well, meshed together well, and we’re excited for the rest of the season.”
“A lot of good things to come from it. We got a lot of skill, a lot of speed,” Samuelsen said. “We haven’t practiced much, only two hours since we’ve been here, so for what we’ve been able to do on the ice. We came together pretty well.”
Moving forward, Jackson believes his players learning to play together and improving their defensive zone coverage will help propel the Tigers forward.
“Guys just sticking with their assignments. That’s probably the biggest thing we can work on,” Samuelsen added.
Though the season opened with a win on Friday night, Clemson and Christopher Newport played again the following morning, with the Tigers losing 5-2. 
Clemson will be on the road this weekend to take on College of Charleston in its next two-game matchup.

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