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Clemson ice hockey’s season ‘far from over’ after South Carolina loss

Ellie Godwin // Provided

Clemson defenseman Thomas Samuelsen fights off two Georgia Bulldogs for the puck during their game on Dec. 2, 2022. 

Clemson ice hockey fell to South Carolina for the second time this season last Saturday by a score of 7-1, but despite the loss, the Tigers still have everything ahead of them. 

In the hard-fought battle, the two teams tallied 19 total penalties, nine of which were called on the Tigers.

Clemson opened the scoring halfway through the first period when right-winger Herbert Kopf netted a rebound shot following up on a 2-on-1 rush by left-winger Ethan Callahan and centerman Nicholas Chesare. Unfortunately for Clemson, Kopf’s goal would be the Tigers’ only of the night. 

Less than one minute after the Tigers hopped on the scoreboard, the Gamecocks responded, evening the score at 1-1.

With under five minutes remaining in the first, South Carolina’s Thomas Lokken snuck one past Clemson goaltender JP Kerney for the 2-1 lead to close the period. 

The first period featured discipline from both sides, but the second period could not have been more different. 

The age-old rivalry between the two in-state schools came alive in the next 20 minutes, as there were 12 penalties recorded in the middle frame alone, each team taking six apiece. Two Tigers took roughing penalties at the 17:44 mark, another at the 16:14 mark, and with 4:26 remaining, assistant captain Thomas Samuelsen and South Carolina’s Andrew Henderson dropped their mitts and got into a donnybrook, resulting in ejection from the game for fighting penalties. 

Amid the 12 penalties, the Gamecocks scored four unanswered goals in the second period for a dominant 6-1 lead heading into the third.

“We were disappointed with the result of the game,” Clemson captain Jack Owen-Turner said. “We expect more from ourselves as a team and didn’t think it was a true picture of where we think the team is headed.” 

Unwilling to go down without a fight, the Tigers played their best in the third period. They took two penalties during this period compared to South Carolina’s four. Although Clemson was unable to capitalize on any of its power plays, the Tigers’ penalty kill unit held off the Gamecocks with ease until the final two minutes of the game, when South Carolina netted its seventh and final goal. 

Despite the disappointing outcome, Clemson is determined to bounce back from this loss. 

“We can’t let one bad result leak into the next games, so we are back to work at practice doing everything we can to get back on track this weekend,” Owen-Turner said. “We wanted to thank everyone for the support this weekend, and we know inside our locker room that this season is far from over.” 

Looking ahead, Clemson will take on Coastal Carolina University this weekend at home.

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Kelly Kaelblein, Senior Reporter
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