The Georgia club hockey team is not done yet.
After finishing the 2017-18 regular season with the best record in the Southeastern Collegiate Hockey Conference, the Ice Dawgs are on a mission to capture their third straight SECHC championship.
“I think a three-peat of SEC Champions is something obviously everybody in this locker room wants,” junior forward Carter Penzien said. “Everybody has it on their mind. We’re not trying to think about it too much and let it freak us out, but getting the 3 peat would be really big for not only the hockey team but the university as well.”
The Ice Dawgs finished with a 15-4-1 overall record, enough to secure the No. 1 seed in the SECHC playoffs. They will battle No. 8 Auburn in the first round on Friday at the Ford Ice Center in Antioch, Tennessee.
Georgia beat Auburn 13-3 on Dec. 1, but the Ice Dawgs refuse to overlook anybody who stands in their way.
“The easiest stuff is behind us,” Penzien said. “Every game from here on out is going to be blood, sweat, and tears.”
Senior forward Alex Carey said the team had three main goals at the start of the season: to win the Savannah Hockey Classic, to win the SECHC, and to make it to the national tournament.
After winning in Savannah, step one is complete. The ultimate goal, though, is still ahead.
“I think it starts with coming home with the SEC Championship for the third time in a row,” Carey, the captain of the Ice Dawgs, said. “But ultimately we want to have a strong showing at nationals and if the bounces go our way, get a national championship.”
Head coach Rick Emmett said the team is on pace to accomplish everything it set out to do. He also emphasized the importance of winning the SECHC.
“The SEC is the big thing on the list,” head coach Rick Emmett said. “We’ve done it for the last two years, so this a year now that we certainly have a target on our back.”
For Carey and the four other seniors, this will be their final postseason.
He intends to savor every moment.
“[I will] treat every second that I get on the ice as a privilege," Carey said. "I know that it’s not going to last forever...You never get to do this again.”
Carey’s senior class helped turn around the hockey culture at Georgia, and they have two SECHC Championships to show for it.
By the end of this weekend, the seniors hope to have a third.