Gamecocks claim overtime win Thursday, fall short in late rally Friday
After traveling to Clemson and then returning to its own arena, the South Carolina club men’s hockey team went 1-1 in their series against Clemson.
Thursday night’s contest at Clemson finished in overtime, the final score 5-4, while Friday’s game at home also finished with a 5-4 score, this time in regulation .
After the win Thursday, the Gamecocks were feeling confident going into the rematch.
But, they let that confidence get the best of them as Clemson scored early, and it was 3-0 by the end of the first period .
The team knew it had to its work cut out for it after the slow start and came out stronger in the second period.
South Carolina quickly scored three goals – by junior Mike Kochenash, sophomore Julian DiPaolo and freshman James Hatton . Clemson retaliated and scored again, ending the second. The Gamecocks came back out and put up a fight, but that wasn’t enough to silence the Tigers .
After this series, the Gamecocks are 3-3, and continue to under-perform in the second game of a series.
“We definitely have a second-game curse,” head coach Mike Lee said. “I don’t know what it is, but we cannot win our second games. And that’s evident (Friday) as it’s been the past couple weekends and that’s just frustrating.”
Although they got the win on Thursday, the players were disappointed in both of their performances.
“Both were bad for us,” Kochenash said . “We got the win the first game, but we played bad.”
Senior Mike Foster agreed that a 1-1 record against Clemson didn’t meet the team’s high standards.
“Yeah, it wasn’t our best efforts,” he said. “We bared down and we worked hard, but we have to work for 60 minutes and talk as a team and figure out what to do and what we can do moving forward.”
As the Gamecocks move forward, they hope to improve their record and break this apparent curse.
The team has goals to make it far in the club playoffs and championships, and the only way to meet those goals will be continued improvement. Even though they won the first game, they felt they didn’t play to the best of their abilities. The team knows that things have to change.
“This one is going to motivate them. They’re angry,” Foster said. “They want to make changes, they want to be better, and now our schedule gets tough. If we can’t step up our own game, it’s going to be rough. They’re fired up, they’re angry, they’re ready to practice and do what we need to do to win.”
South Carolina will continue to practice this week as they prepare to face Florida Gulf Coast this Friday and Saturday . The players know these games will be challenging, and there is plenty of work to do between now and then.
“We have to take the positives of what we did well and use that moving forward,” Foster said. “It’s a long season, there’s a lot left and we’re never out of it.
”“We can’t just show up and get the win” Kochenash added. “We have to play better.”