After a two-week gap in November, the Georgia Ice Dawgs returned to the ice to extend their home win streak to 26 consecutive games and a 10-1-1 overall record. The home team defended its turf with a 10-2 defeat of Clemson.
Junior David Spielberger led the offensive effort with a hat trick, his second of the season and his UGA career. Seniors Alex Carey and Cam Gilmore each had two goals apiece. Tonight’s victory marks Carey’s fourth consecutive game with at least two goals.
The Georgia faithful packed the stands of the student section to watch the Ice Dawgs’ dominant defeat of Clemson. Over 1,400 fans flocked to the Classic Center for the match up.
“Especially when the student section gets packed, it’s a world of difference with atmosphere,” said head coach Rick Emmett. “At periodic times in the game, to have that energy in there is monumental. If we can get crowds like that in closer games, it’d be a difference maker as far as energy level for the guys.”
The rowdy crowd strengthened the team’s resolve on the ice as they witnessed an 8-point margin of victory.
“That’s one of the big advantages of playing in Athens, the fans that come out,” said Spielberger. “The fans just really get you going. You’re skating your hardest, you get really motivated.”
Spielberger contributed an assist in addition to his three goals of the evening. The Atlanta native said helping the team with more assists is something he’s pushing himself to improve on this season.
“I’m almost as excited getting the assist today as I was getting the hat trick,” said Spielberger.
Georgia took an early 4-0 lead in the first period, making itself at home in Clemson’s defensive zone. Cam Gilmore struck first in the first 31 seconds, followed by Carey, Carter Penzien and Spielberger, who each slipped the puck past Clemson’s freshman goalie Liam McHugh.
Junior Drew Holcombe scored Georgia’s fifth point which Clemson’s Andrew Racicot answered. The Tigers’ second period goal would be their first of two. As the clock ran down with under three minutes to go in the second period, a shot by Carey found the back of the net followed by scores from Spielberger and senior Zach Flasch to put Georgia on top 8-1.
Clemson managed to slip one goal past Andrew Webb. but Georgia answered as Gilmore and Spielberger piled two more points on the board before the final buzzer sounded. UGA looks forward to two more games in this home stand before a hiatus in the three weeks of December.
“These are our last two games in this rink before we move outdoors, and we want to keep our streak going and hopefully get 28 in a row,” said Spielberger.