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Caleb Santa Maria (9) makes a shot on goal at a University of Georgia club ice hockey game against the Clemson Tigers on Jan. 31, 2019 at the Classic Center pavillion in Athens, Georgia. The Ice Dawgs defeated their opponents 10-6 in regular time. (Photo/Julian Alexander)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Georgia club hockey team beat Tennessee 10-4 Friday night at the Cool Sports Home of the Icearium in Knoxville, Tennessee. This was the first of two matches in the regular season against the Volunteers, with the second match scheduled for Jan. 31 at The Classic Center.

The Ice Dawgs are now 1-4 on the season, and the 10 goals scored represented a new season-high for the team.

“We were just focused on what we wanted, and that was getting the win,” senior Aaron Phillips said. “We took what our coaches told us to do and just did it.”

The Ice Dawgs grabbed the lead a little over a minute into the match with a goal by senior Jack Ryan. Both offenses became stagnant for the remainder of the period until the Ice Dawgs were able to net two goals in the final 20 seconds. The first came from senior Caleb Santa Maria, and the following goal came from Chris Keresztes.

Like the first period, the Ice Dawgs grabbed an early goal only four minutes in, this time from sophomore Jackson Katz. Two minutes later, the Ice Dawgs went up 5-0 with Santa Maria’s second goal of the evening assisted by Keresztes.

It looked to be all Georgia until Tennessee started clicking midway through the second period, with three straight goals by three different players in only two and a half minutes.

“We got a little sloppy,” assistant coach John Camp said. “We were getting back to some of our bad habits, but we reeled it back in and got back on track.”

Tension started to rise after Tennessee came within two from tying the game, with both teams stepping up their physicality on the ice. Georgia eventually answered with 42 seconds left in the second period on Santa Maria’s third goal of the match, giving him the hat trick.

The third period was all Georgia, who scored four goals to Tennessee’s one, giving Georgia the 10-4 victory.

Next for the Ice Dawgs is their home opener against Ole Miss next Friday, Oct. 11, at the Akins Ford Arena at The Classic Center. This matchup was a rematch of last year’s SEC championship when the Ice Dawgs won 4-2.

“They’re a great team,” Camp said. “They’re well-coached… We take a lot of pride in playing in The Classic Center. We couldn’t have asked for a better home-opener, [Ole Miss] is the team to beat.”

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