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Clemson ice hockey defeats Coastal Carolina in an overtime thriller

Ellie Godwin // Provided

The Tigers celebrate their win against Middle Tennessee on Jan. 13. 

If one thing proved to be true for the Clemson ice hockey team last weekend, it’s that Saturdays are for the boys.

Following a devastating 6-1 loss to Coastal Carolina on Friday, the Tigers came out with a chip on their shoulder the following day, determined to beat the Chanticleers. Propelled by the efforts of assistant captain Thomas Samuelsen, left-winger Cade Heinold, centerman John McKeon and goaltender Josh Bailey, the Tigers won 5-4 in an overtime thriller.

“The result of the game was extremely disappointing, but I don’t think it was an overall reflection of the way we played,” said captain Jack Owen-Turner after Friday’s loss. “Sometimes you don’t get the bounces and it’s just not your night. We need to regroup and make sure we do everything we can tomorrow night to correct what happened tonight.”

And that’s exactly what Clemson did.

Unable to play on Friday due to a residual penalty from Clemson’s game against South Carolina, Samuelsen came out firing. He got the Tigers on the board first during a power play with 3:22 remaining in the first period. With the goal, Clemson led 1-0 entering the second period.

Heinold netted the Tigers’ second goal within the first 15 seconds of the middle period, assisted by right-winger Herbert Kopf. Two minutes later, Heinold scored his second of the night during a power play, assisted by Kopf and centerman Nicholas Chesare. 

Soon after, at the 4:55 mark, centerman Graydon Schweizer increased Clemson’s lead to 4-0, assisted by Owen-Turner. 

But what seemed to be a comfortable lead quickly diminished as Coastal Carolina’s Liam Walsh and Owen O’Brien paired up to score three unanswered goals during the second period. Entering the final frame, the Tigers’ led 4-3. 

“It was an unbelievable start by us,” McKeon said. “We were up four-nothing and then started letting in a couple… We thought it was going to go south.”

The only goal of the third period was from Walsh, who was assisted by O’Brien again, to even the score at 4-4. By the end of regulation, both teams were desperate for a win. 

“It’s always a pretty crazy feeling when you go into overtime,” McKeon said. “Everyone’s gassed, and it’s just about who’s got more left in the tank. And we had more today.”

With 2:54 left in the five-minute 3-on-3 overtime period, Samuelsen netted the game-winner for Clemson, assisted by McKeon. 

“That was my first overtime goal as an ice Tiger,” he said. “It felt good, especially in the senior game… It was good to get it from a fellow senior (McKeon) and to get the win for all the seniors.”

Clemson’s resilience remains strong, and the Tigers just can’t seem to find their quit.

“It was a roller coaster of a game,” Samuelsen added. “We started out hot, we went up four, and we were looking for that sandpaper finish but didn’t end up getting it. They came back and tied it, but we had a lot of fight–no quit–and we got the win in overtime.”

Clemson will be back in action this Friday and Saturday when it travels to Tampa, Florida, to take on the Spartans.

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Kelly Kaelblein
Kelly Kaelblein, Asst. Sports Editor
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