The Daily Gamecock

Clemson spoils Ice 'Cocks senior night, season sweep

Penalties continue to plague injury-addled Carolina; Kaeser notches 23-save shutout for Tigers

The South Carolina club hockey team's season ended with a whimper Friday night as Clemson silenced the Irmo faithful early and soon had the team headed for the exits in a 7-0 rout on Senior Night.

With victories over Clemson on Sept. 22 and Nov. 17, the Gamecocks already had the Palmetto Cup title clinched for 2017-18. However, Matt Loughran's Tigers made an excellent case for a rematch, needing only 13 men to shut out South Carolina before its largest crowd of the season. Still without high-scoring forwards Sean Davis (leg injury), Jake Tengi (concussion) and Alec Martone, the Gamecocks managed only 23 shots on net, none of which found its way past Clemson goaltender Joe Kaeser.

After a scoreless opening frame, Clemson drew first blood 1:26 into the second period when Jared Tallo rifled a snap shot past Jared Ward for his second power play tally of the year. Matt Wilson put the Tigers ahead 2-0 barely two minutes later when he tipped home a rebound off Andrew Racicot's shot from the left circle that Ward managed to get a toe on, but couldn't cover up in time.

It was all Clemson from there as Racicot added his team-leading 18th goal of the season six minutes later and assisted on Chandler Paff's goal 4:51 before the second intermission. Tallo's second goal, scored on a Tiger penalty kill, chased Ward from the South Carolina net three minutes into the third. With the loss, Ward capped his rookie season with a 5-9-2 record. 

Nick Jasinski stopped four of six Clemson shots in a 17-minute relief appearance for South Carolina.

Paff completed his hat trick with 11:42 remaining but was ejected with Duncan Hickman shortly after when a scuffle, one of several in the game, broke out in front of the Clemson bench. Both teams combined for 28 penalty minutes on the play and 62 on the night.

The loss dropped South Carolina to a final record of 9-12-2 for the year, a far cry from the 15-12-1 mark that saw the team into the SECHC semifinal and ACHA South Regional in 2016-17.

After the game, South Carolina head coach Allan Sirois spoke about what must change for a South Carolina team that will be missing defenseman Greyson Curry and forwards Jim Hatton and Ian Schneider, among others, next fall.

"What happened today pretty much happened all year," Sirois said. "Turnovers, played really bad in our defensive zone. We did okay offensive zone, and actually we had a ton of chances, we just couldn't finish. But in our own zone, that's gotta change."

Sirois also addressed the issue that hobbled his obviously capable team last week in close losses to Kentucky and Ole Miss at the SECHC tournament.

"Injuries, I can't do nothing about. We had a ton this year," Sirois said. "We had seven concussions; I've never even heard of that. So hopefully we stay healthy next year and play better in our defensive zone. I'll definitely work on that."


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