Game 1 (Friday)
The Yellow Jackets brought almost the entire squad (25 strong) to their first overnight road trip of the season in Columbus, GA. With 2 games in just over 12 hours, the coaches wanted to get as many fresh legs on the ice as possible. The first game, once again against the Auburn Tigers was a sort of grudge match for the Jackets. Just one week before, GT had fallen to the Tigers by a goal in overtime. This game, on Auburn’s ice, was entirely different.
Like many other GT Hockey games, this game started out quickly. One guy who had been missing from the lineup last week was starting center, Karl Risley #12. He was the one who got things started just a minute and a half into the game on an unassisted goal. Following his lead about 10 minutes later was first time GT Hockey Yellow Jacket, Brandon Holt #10 who not only hit the back of the net once, but twice both off of assists from Michael Leon #8. The team couldn’t have gotten a better start as they headed back to the lockerroom with a 3-0 under their belts.
The second period started out similarly to the first as a group of stat-sheet regulars combined for the Jacket’s fourth tally. Assists from Karl Risley #12 and Mike Brzozowski #17 enabled Michael Markwordt #3 to light the lamp and continue his rookie scoring campaign. And just when you thought you had enough of Risley, he appears yet again, scoring his second of the game just 30 seconds later. The Jackets were sitting pretty at 5-0 heading toward the halfway point of the game when the Auburn Tigers struck back with a quick goal of their own. The score at the second intermission held at 5-1.
That same Tiger player opened the scoring in the third with a quick goal, only to be followed by an onslaught of goals from Nick Markwordt #15, Zach “Magic” Maciejewski #9, and a hat-trick goal from Brandon Holt #10. In the middle of all of that GT offensive pressure, the Tigers did beat goalie, Zach Cernich #31 one final time, but to no avail. The boys stormed back from a defeat at home to trounce the Auburn Tigers 9-2 on their home ice!
A big congratulations to speedy forward Brandon Holt #10 for scoring a hat-trick in tonights game and a hardy “great work” to the entire team. This was the third time all season, that the boys have stormed back after being handed a one goal loss to defeat that very same team short after. In fact, all three of our losses (against FSU, Clemson, and Auburn) were salvaged the next day or following week by a reciprocated win. Solid work all around!
Game 2 (Saturday)
On a short nights rest, the Yellow Jackets were scheduled to play an early afternoon game against the UAB Blazers. The Blazers are a relatively new team, one that GT Hockey has yet to play, and are therefore not yet part of the American Collegiate Hockey Association. Though, this game was being taken as seriously as the rest, it would not count towards our ACHA ranking come next Wednesday.
With that being said and after a short recovery period, Coach Bob Cernich, Coach Jeremy Omess, and Coach Colin Roberts all opted to dig into the depth of this team and play some fresh legs. Seeing the ice for the first time this weekend included Thomas Wraback #6, Alex Moon #2, Skyler Voisin #16, Matt Burg #19, Ben Mangel #29, and lastly backup goalie, Nick Bello #30.
And again, things started out quickly for the boys. Just 20 seconds into the game and already Karl Risley #12 and Tom Petrick #7 were able to assist Michael Markwordt #3 on the game’s opening goal. With the help of the early goal and the set of fresh legs in the blue and gold, the Jackets were buzzing around the ice, tacking on another goal by Karl Risley #12, assisted on by Dalton Childs #13 and Michael Markwordt #3 before the end of the frame. That goal came on the power play, breaking UAB’s six game streak without giving up a goal on their own penalty kill. 2-0 GT at the end of the first period.
In the second, Karl Risley #12, again, quickly fount the back of the net on a quick wrister over the goalie shoulder. 3-0 GT. Still though, all of the Yellow Jacket momentum wasn’t enough to stop the Blazer push-back. UAB was able to even the score with 3 goals of their own. Nick Bello, who was getting his first ever GT Hockey start played extremely well all game long, but there wasn’t much he could do to stop the Blazer offense. Knotted in a 3-3 game late in the second, captain Joey Schutz #5 took matters into his own hands as he added the go-ahead goal, followed quickly by a fifth GT goal from Kevin Polak #25. The boys were in the homestretch with a 5-3 lead.
The team had seen leads like this before. Sometimes they were able to hold on, other times they weren’t as lucky. Backed by the solid play of Bello in net and many of the fresh legs up front, the Jackets traded goals with UAB, coming out of the period with a 6-4 statement win. The final GT goal was again scored by rookie sensation, Michael Markwordt #3. This win over a new team in the UAB Blazers gives the team and the coaches confidence every single player up and down the lineup. The team proved today, that they have depth and that depth is solid enough to get wins against any team.
The Weekend Recap:
Prior to arriving in Columbus, GA, the Jackets had falling in the ACHA DIII South rankings from #8 to #11. After this weekend, carrying home a league play record of 7-3-1 (overall record of 8-3-1), the boys are hoping to see a jump back up in the rankings to finish out the fall semester strong. This weekend, however, was not the last you’ll see of the GT in the fall. The boys will enjoy their Thanksgiving breaks and then they will hit the ice for one last practice leading up to their final game of the fall in Athens, GA against the Dawgs on December 3rd.
Please come out and support your Georgia Tech Hockey Yellow Jackets at 3:00 PM on Sunday, December 3rd as we take on uGA in their barn. Please make sure to purchase a ticket beforehand here.