University of Georgia junior Caleb Santa Maria (9) watches his team from the sidelines. The University of Georgia Ice Dawgs defeated the University of Michigan-Flint 8-5 on December 2, 2018 at Akins Ford Arena in Athens, Georgia.

The Georgia hockey team came from behind to defeat Ole Miss Friday night after conceding three unanswered goals to begin the match.

A common theme throughout the young season has been the late-match surges. The Ice Dawgs have seen an uptick in both goals scored and shots attempted particularly in the second period. The showdown with Ole Miss was followed suit.

“In the first period, we came out and it was a lot of people’s first game here and it is really intimidating,” senior forward Caleb Santa Maria said. “When we come out in the second [period] we get all of the jitters out and we work a lot harder as a team.”

Georgia hockey features eight freshman for the 2019-20 season, which could possibly explain the few slow starts the Ice Dawgs have had to start the season.

With two goals scored in the second period, and two in the third, the Ice Dawgs completed the comeback and secured a much needed 4-3 win.

Aside from the box score, Georgia turned up the intensity as the match wore on. Junior defender Kyle Harris lifted his team’s spirits after a few aggressive hits on Ole Miss forwards. The match became rather chippy after the visitors took several hits and saw that three-goal lead evaporate.

The crowd showed its appreciation for the Ice Dawgs’ late match intensity.

“Hearing the crowd afterwards, it didn’t just get me going, but it got the whole team going,” Santa Maria said. “Having that sound in here escalated everything for us. We need to keep working harder so we can hear that again and again.”

Georgia showed the valuable ability to strike quickly and effectively, boding well for an improvement in a balanced attack.

This was the largest comeback of the year for the Ice Dawgs as they put on an entertaining show for the home opener. The team will be putting an emphasis on starting fast as they prepare for a set of three straight Classic Center showdowns.

Coming off an impressive season, Georgia will look to ride these late-match surges back to the SEC elite.

“We told all the new guys that it is going to get better and they just need to keep playing,” Santa Maria said. “We got some bad bounces, but we knew that was going to change.”

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