Coming off an exciting 7-4-1 start to the season, the Jackets are back at it again ready to battle it out in Savannah in the Tire Hockey Classic against long-time rivals Florida State University and the University of Georgia. While Georgia Tech intends to repeat their victory over the ‘Noles like back in October, they would like nothing more than the sweet revenge of beating the Dawgs in a neutral arena on January 13th.
The Savannah tournament offers the best opportunity for the Jackets to pick up the W over the Dawgs, as the second game against UGA this half of the season will be played on the Dawgs home turf in the first ever outdoor game for the Jackets at the Civic Center on January 28th. The Jackets are looking to bring their best to Athens, as this season serves as the final chance for seniors Zach Cernich, Thomas Wraback, and Captain Joey Schutz to lead the team to victory. With the return of third-year goalie Caleb Rudnicki, likely to split time with Zach Cernich in net, the team hopes to offset the loss of forward Justus Saldeen, who will continue to pass the puck in his home country, Sweden.
However, while UGA is considered the biggest challenge of the year, it is certainly not the only challenge that Georgia Tech must face this season. The Jackets must also watch out for Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, and North Carolina, all of whom they will face off against in the Scholar Shootout at the Ford Ice Center in Nashville the weekend of January 19th, not to mention cross-town rivals Kennesaw State University, who are guaranteed to bring a physical game in February.
Picking up where they left off in December, the Jackets’ first practice will be January 9th, where Head Coach Cernich, as well as the rest of the coaching staff, will likely use the ice time to polish up the power play and get the lines ready to hit the ice come January 12th. Everybody in Georgia Tech’s program believes that there is great team potential this year, as the experienced seniors will try to pass the torch to the young freshman talent.