After a rough 4-2 loss Thursday night, the South Carolina hockey team destroyed the rival Clemson Tigers Friday night 9-0.
The Gamecocks went into the home match looking for revenge, which was showcased in their aggressive game plan. Freshman defenseman Jacob Tengi, who went on to have a hat trick, struck first for the Gamecocks within the first ten minutes of play.
“We talked a lot before this game today, basically we knew that how we came out yesterday wasn’t the team we are,” Tengi said. “Today we came out a lot harder, a lot more physical, started things earlier, and definitely had our feet going earlier. We just got the momentum on them earlier in the game and kept carrying that momentum going throughout the periods.”
The Gamecocks have struggled to shift the momentum in their favor throughout the season, and that was evident in Thursday night’s loss. But the team was locked in against Clemson and kept the momentum in its favor throughout the entirety of the game.
“We knew last night we played well for 40 minutes,” head coach Allan Sirois said. “It was 1-1 after 40, but we really didn’t play well at all. We tried to take a timeout in the third and bring it back but we couldn’t. So tonight our focus was to play 60 minutes the same way and we definitely did that. It’s just a reminder that it’s never over, so we just kept focused on playing straightforward, the entire 60 because that’s what we need to learn to do, play 60 to win.”
Goalie Gary Marchese held the Tigers scoreless with a myriad of phenomenal saves.
“I felt a little angry after the loss last night and knew we needed to get back and even the series. The play in front me [kept my momentum going], they made it easy for me. They didn’t test me too much and it was a great overall win,” Marchese said.
With the strong performance, the Gamecocks look forward to finishing out the remainder of the season with continued success. When the group performs with a level of unity and togetherness, its shines and they showed it on Friday night.
“The teammates help motivate you. We’re always around each other and feeding off each other’s energy and that’s what we were able to do tonight,” Tengi said.
After splitting the series with Clemson, the Gamecocks are 1-2 in division play and 3-4 overall.
Team execution has been a major issue for South Carolina this season, resulting in multiple brutal losses. However, Saturday night’s game provided hope to a team on the brink of an utter collapse. With a difficult upcoming schedule, the Gamecocks replicate their effort against the Tigers.
“We realized that this was a critical game, that we could have dropped four in a row, so we had to just come out and play our game the entire 60 minutes,” junior defenseman Julian DiPaolo said. “That’s been a problem, but we buckled down and just fought through it. [This win] is definitely something to build on, we all played together and when we do that we’re a pretty solid team. ”
South Carolina will travel to Florida next weekend to face the University of Central Florida. Sirois believes the team can carry its momentum into this week of practice and into the game against Central Florida.
“UCF is very strong. I want this momentum to continue down there, and get prepared for that,” Sirois said.