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Georgia’s Jack Ryan (12) 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)

Starting off the new year in the best possible way, Georgia defeated Alabama 6-1 to notch its 10th win of the season behind a marquee performance from senior forward Jack Ryan.

After a sloppy first period that was full of turnovers Georgia led just 1-0, but opened the game up in the second period.

Georgia scored four goals in a 15-minute span during the second period, with two coming from Ryan. He finished the game having been involved with three of the team’s six goals, scoring two goals and assisting one in the third.

Ryan said the team settled after a slow start to the game.

“We got energized,” Ryan said. “It took us the first period to get our bearings, and after you start doing that you just let the preparations kick in.”

Ryan attributed part of the team’s spark to the Georgia student section, whom the team appeared to feed off as the team settled into the game.

“We love our students,” Ryan said. “We play a lot better when they’re here.”

The game, while full of scoring in favor of the Ice Dawgs, was also full of penalties and physical play. Both teams combined for 10 minor penalties, one of which resulted in a power play goal for Georgia late in the second period.

The Ice Dawgs ended the second period with a 5-1 lead and never looked back from there. They rode that momentum throughout the rest of the game, adding one more goal late in the third period to close out the convincing 6-1 victory.

Head coach Rick Emmett said that the team’s slow start was expected, given the team had spent time off during the holidays.

“We knew it was going to be slow feeling out the game,” Emmett said. “The goal was to simplify the game plan.”

Emmett said that there were things to take away and build off from Friday’s win going into another game against the Frozen Tide on Saturday night.

“We gotta make sure we’re valuing the puck a little bit more,” Emmett said. “We don’t want to be complacent with what we did tonight.”

With the win, Georgia improves its ACHA record to 10-6-1 and improves its conference record to 9-5.

After Friday’s rematch against Alabama, Georgia will close its opening slate of games of the new year with another conference matchup against Florida on Jan. 11.

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