The Yellow Jackets put on a show in their first game of the Savannah Tire Hockey Classic with a huge 12-4 win over FSU. Both Zach Gauvin and Karl Risley scored hat tricks Friday night alongside Ben Lublin, who registered 2 shorthanded goals between the 1st and 2nd periods. The Seminoles fell victim to several penalties early on, which allowed the first line (Markwordt, Risley, Brzozowski) to generate 3 powerplay goals in the 1st period alone, a sight that Head Coach Cernich has been dying to see since the start of the season. The Jackets have performed exceptionally on defense the entire season so far, and this past weekend proved to be no exception. Special teams pair Nicholas Markwordt and Ben Lublin stymied FSU on the powerplay on several occasions, which heavily contributed to Georgia Tech’s defensive success throughout the tournament. Zach Cernich made the starting appearance in net for the first game, locking down the crease while the forwards peppered FSU’s goalie on the opposing end of the ice.
At the conclusion of the morning skate preceding Friday’s game, Captain Joey Schutz assured his team that “the team who stays focused will be the team that wins,” which proved to be perfect advice for the young freshman who have never played in front of the Savannah Classic Center crowd.
“There is no other platform we will play on with more distractions than Savannah.”—Schutz.
Schutz and Jones displayed great team-oriented discipline, headmanning the puck for successful breakouts, and sending the puck hard on net in the offensive zone for rebounds, which granted Schutz a one-timed goal against FSU. Defenseman Drew Wallace was responsible for the biggest hit of the game, flipping an FSU forward as he crossed Tech’s defensive blue line.
Saturday afternoon, following the second morning skate of the tournament, the entire team traveled a short distance to the house of a Georgia Tech alumni who generously hosted a pasta luncheon for all the players and coaches. A strong alumni presence has always followed the Yellow Jackets’ ice hockey program in Savannah, and is received gratefully by the current players who love to make them proud.
The intense rivalry between Georgia Tech and UGA held true for Saturday night’s game, as thousands of spectators flooded the stands to watch the players battle for the Thrasher Cup. Sadly for the Yellow Jackets, Karl Risley and Michael Markwordt’s goals were not enough to seal the win, as Tech fell to the Dawgs 2-6, placing the Jackets in a hard-fought second place for the tournament overall due to 1 goal differential. Despite it being his first game of the season, Caleb Rudnicki looked right at home in net, and played outstandingly well considering the large disparity between UGA’s shots on net and that of the Yellow Jackets. Nevertheless, Georgia Tech brought some hardware back to Atlanta, and Risley brought home some of his own. In both games of the weekend, Karl Risley was named Player of the Game for his excellent play on both sides of the red line.
The hockey weekend ended on a high note, as the entire team joined together singing karaoke and having a blast with their families and alumni at Spanky’s Pizza Galley & Saloon, a bar owned by a former Ramblin’ Wreck. The Yellow Jackets have already shifted their focus toward the Scholar Shootout tournament in Nashville this coming weekend, where they will line-up against Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, and North Carolina in the Ford Ice Center.
Photo by Mark Matthews