Georgia forward Jackson Katz (23) ices the Kennesaw State goalie. The Ice Dawgs fell in overtime to Kennesaw State with a final score 4-5 on Thursday, Nov. 22, 2019, in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/Ryan Cameron rcameron@randb.com)

The Georgia club hockey team rallied behind the duo of Jackson Katz and Jacob Salaski to beat Tennessee 5-1 at The Classic Center’s Foundry Pavilion on Friday night.

The Ice Dawgs got their first win without forward Caleb Santa Maria, who suffered a knee injury against Georgia Tech on Jan. 18 and is expected to miss the rest of the season.

Georgia played aggressively to start the game and never looked back, controlling the puck and playing physical on the ice. Head coach Rick Emmett said he was pleased with the effort he saw from his team.

“I thought it was a pretty complete game,” Emmett said. “We controlled the pace and tempo all game.”

Emmett said he felt much more comfortable with his lineup, making slight adjustments after his team’s loss against South Carolina last week.

“We know where we need to be with our lines,” Emmett said. “It’s just a matter of in-game adjustments.”

Katz, a sophomore forward, scored two goals in the second period to break a 1-1 first period tie, giving the Ice Dawgs a 3-1 lead going into the third period. Salaski, also a sophomore forward, assisted on both goals.

Although the Ice Dawgs were aggressive on the ice from the start, Tennessee was able to catch them late in the first period, tying the game at one apiece while Georgia was trying to make substitutions. 

Katz said the team really got going in the second period after breaking the tie.

“We cut the crust off in the second,” Katz said. “We got rolling.”

Georgia went on to score two more goals in the third period, with shots from freshmen forwards Matthew Bigda and Alex Mahr. Bigda finished the night with two goals, while Mahr scored one goal and assisted on another.

The Ice Dawgs notched their 13th win of the season and have won four of their past six games, improving their record to 13-9-2 (12-7 in conference play) with just one regular season game remaining.

The Ice Dawgs conclude their regular season on Saturday against Auburn at the Foundry Pavilion in Athens. Then, Georgia will compete in the SEC Conference Championships in Nashville, Tennessee, on Feb. 7.

Emmett said he expects to roll with the same starting lineup against Auburn, and Katz said he’s looking forward to ending the regular season on a high note.

“We’re gonna bring the peanut butter, we’re adding the jelly and we’re going all out,” Katz said. “You better count on that.”