Georgia junior Kyle Harris shoots the puck at the net. The University of Georgia Ice Dawgs hosted Alabama to win by a score of 6-1 on Jan. 9, 2020, in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/ Kathryn Skeean, kskeean@randb.com)

The Ice Dawgs fell 7-4 to the Frozen Tide at Akins Ford Arena on Friday night in a game where they were constantly playing catch-up.

Georgia, like in its first game against Alabama on Thursday, played a lackluster first period and found themselves down 2-0 early in the second period before the team saw a spark on offense in the last half of the period.

Senior forward Caleb Santa Maria scored three goals in the last 11 minutes of the period, outscoring Alabama 3-2 in that span and tying the game going into the third period.

Despite Santa Maria bringing the Ice Dawgs back into the game, Alabama outscored Georgia 4-1 in the third period, ending the game with a final score of 7-4.

Santa Maria said that the team started off the game slow and got complacent after the second period.

“We could have come out a lot stronger,” Santa Maria said. “That would have helped us out in the long run.”

Penalties were a common issue throughout the game, as both teams combined for over 20 penalties and multiple ejections, including the ejection of junior forward Seth Johnston after a fight late in the second period.

Head coach Rick Emmett said he was disappointed in how the officials handled the game.

“Some of it is very inconsistent [officiating],” Emmett said. “Some of it is just lazy hockey in general.”

Emmett not only noted his disappointment in the officiating, but also how his team played outside of the second period. He used the word complacent to describe his team’s efforts on the ice.

“We played 20 minutes out of 60 minutes tonight,” Emmett said. “We shot ourselves in the foot a little bit trying to get back in that game.”

Junior defenseman and team captain Kyle Harris used the word lackluster to describe his team’s performance.

“We were out there playing hockey, but we weren’t out there playing Georgia hockey,” Harris said. “It was evident on the scoreboard.”

Harris added that playing a game where the officiating is so present makes it hard to stay in the right mindset, and affects how the team strategizes for the rest of the game.

The Ice Dawgs fall to 10-7-1 with the loss, and 9-6 in the SEC. The team will complete their opening slate of 2020 games after they face Florida on Saturday.

Despite the frustrating loss, Harris knows that the team needs a quick turnaround for Saturday’s game against Florida, a team who Georgia defeated in Jacksonville last fall.

“We’re gonna learn from tonight and go into tomorrow and play Georgia hockey,” Harris said.

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