With a three-game win streak in tact the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets entered the final weekend in January facing a very crucial opponent in the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Playing their first game at home on Saturday night, Tech new that playing the 11th seed USC team while they sat at 9th meant that this game would be a big deciding factor in their bid to regionals. However, the Jackets would have to play this game without Captain Joey Schutz #5, young and reckless playmaker ,Jacob Rankin #18, and goal scorer, Michael Markwordt #3. Still though, that did not deter the Jackets from having a good start to the game.
Unlike the final two games of the Scholar Shootout in Nashville, GT was able to find their way onto the scoresheet first off of a beautiful goal from our resident Czech, Kevin Polak #25. And that tally just got things started. As the back-and-forth period wore on, the boys were able to find the back of the net twice more: one coming from Polak yet again and another coming off of a hard-working forecheck from Nick Markwordt #15. The Jackets rode the momentum right into the intermission break with a solid 3-0 lead.
The 2nd period swung back in the Gamecocks favor a bit. Several penalties by Tech players led to costly penalty kills. One of the three USC goals in the 2nd period came off of power play opportunities. Despite, the South Carolina onslaught, the Jackets were able to add a tally of their own when Mike Brzozowski #17 found the back of the net for his 13th goal of the season. The Jackets lost the period, but remained ahead by a score of 4-3 leading into the final frame.
In the 3rd period, Tech was aware of what was at stake. If this game went south, it could have easily knocked them out of the running for regionals. With that in mind, the Jackets took to the ice storming. They scored a quick goal off of the hands of Michael Leon #8. And shortly thereafter, they added a 6th goal to their total when Karl Risley #12 scored. This surely felt like enough to secure the win, but Tech would have to withstand one last Gamecock power play and fight to the finish. USC was, unfortunately, able to get another past goalie, Caleb Rudnicki #30, but it wasn’t enough to benefit their cause as the game ended with a final score of 6-4. The Jackets were victorious for the 4th straight game and they are also winners of 5 of their last 6 games!
Come out and see us next weekend as we play in the ACC South Tournament against Clemson and FSU at The Ice in Cumming, GA.
Photo by Alison Suhm