On Friday, Nov. 19, Georgia hockey traveled to Clemson, taking down the Tigers 5-4 in a hard-fought victory. With the win, Georgia rises to 12-3 overall and 11-2 in conference this year.
This was the second time the squads have met this season, with Georgia now leading the series 2-0. Unlike their first victory, an 8-0 thrashing in favor of the Bulldogs, this was a much more even matchup, with both teams surging at different points throughout the game.
Clemson started the first period on a high note, notching an early goal and breaking out to a 1-0 lead over the visiting Bulldogs. Georgia wasn’t out of the fight yet, though. With three minutes left before the end of the period, Trevor Gutmann found the back of the net, tying the game at one goal apiece. This was his 14th score of the season, and it could not have come at a better time, rallying an otherwise lackluster Bulldog offense.
Georgia entered the second frame with a five-on-four power play, thanks to a Clemson penalty late in the first period. The Bulldogs seized the momentary advantage, and Cameron Campbell scored off of an assist from Jackson Katz. Georgia kept piling on, as Matthew Bigda followed the shot with a score of his own, giving the Bulldogs a two goal lead over the Tigers.
Clemson was quick to cut into the deficit, and less than a minute later, the score was 3-2 in favor of the Bulldogs. For the next few minutes, it was a hotly contested affair, featuring several referee stoppages to calm down the spirited play between the teams. One such stoppage resulted in a power play for the Tigers, during which they scored once more, bringing the second period to a close with the teams tied 3-3.
Early on in the third frame, Clemson got out to another lead, tallying their fourth goal on the night, tying Georgia’s season high for goals allowed. From there, the outcome of the game teetered on the edge of uncertainty, as the Bulldogs attempted to even the score, and the Tigers attempted to put the game out of reach.
Ultimately, Georgia prevailed, with Matthew Bigda recording his second goal of the night. The remainder of the period was scoreless, and at the end of regulation, the teams were tied at four goals each.
The Bulldogs wasted no time in the sudden death frame, intent on ending the game in resounding fashion. In the first minute of overtime, with an assist from David Eberly, Josh Mesaros scored a breakaway goal to seal the victory, marking his second game-winning shot on the season.
When it came to the overtime lineup, head coach John Camp was comfortable relying on a familiar combination.
“I went with the duo who potted the winning goal when we played Auburn,” he said. “It was Eberly and Mesaros, and they didn’t disappoint me. They put it away quick.”
Now, the Bulldogs find themselves with a break in their schedule. When they return, they will have a string of three games in four days, starting with a matchup against Kennesaw State on Dec. 2, at the Classic Center in Athens.