The South Carolina club hockey team (15-1-1, 11-1 SECHC) continued play in the Southeastern Collegiate Hockey Conference (SECHC) with an 8-3 win over the Georgia Ice Dawgs (12-8-2, 11-6 SECHC) Saturday night at the Plex in Irmo.
Gamecock sophomore forward Cameron Mecca scored the first goal in under 90 seconds.
A few minutes later, Gamecock freshman forward Michael Peak and sophomore forward Luke Rudman scored, giving South Carolina a 3-0 lead.
“This whole opening, and Ryan Hilinski being here, I think pumped up the guys so much,” head coach Allan Sirois said. “They were ready.”
The Gamecocks added to their lead before the break with another goal from Mecca with just over five minutes left in the first period.
After the first intermission, the Ice Dawgs scored two goals in under two minutes from graduate defender Chris Keresztes and junior defender Kyle Harris, putting Georgia on the scoreboard.
The Gamecocks had scoring opportunities with a pair of back-to-back power plays, but failed to make them.
The Ice Dawgs scored no more goals in the second period against the Gamecock defense.
“We went back to what we used to do because we were going all over the map in the beginning of the second, and they took advantage,” Sirois said. “We just went back to basics, and the result speaks for itself."
Five goals were scored in the last period, the first of which came from Gamecock freshman forward Julian Reiss with a little over 12 minutes left.
Ice Dawgs' Keresztes scored another goal, but Gamecock freshman forward Chad Lizine scored after. This happened within two minutes.
Late in the third period, Gamecock freshman forward Rob Lawrence and Rudman scored a goal each.
Mecca's two early goals helped the Gamecocks take the 4-0 lead before the first intermission.
“That’s what we wanted to do, was jump right on them,” Mecca said. “We wanted to really get after them early, and I think we did a very good job doing that.”
The Gamecocks will turn their attention to the Auburn Tigers (14-3-2, 13-2 SECHC) in conference play. The Tigers are coming off back-to-back wins over Florida State.
The Gamecocks and Tigers face off Jan. 31 at 8 p.m. at the Plex in Irmo.