CHS Week 17 Recap
By: Danny Baum
Week 17 of the College Hockey South did not fall short on storylines or drama! Two teams clinched playoff spots, two champions were crowned in Clarksville, Tennessee, and a weekend full of emotion and commotion reminded us why we love the great game of hockey.
Division 1 Playoffs
Week 17 Game of the Week: Semifinal - (No. 2) University of South Carolina vs (No. 3) University of Georgia
Our game of the week lived up to the billing on Friday night when South Carolina and Georgia battled bitterly for a spot in the championship. The first two meetings of the season between these teams were one-goal games, and the rubber match followed suit.
The Ice Dawgs scored three times in the first two periods on CHS Division 1 goalie of the year, Tyler Temoyan, but South Carolina answered back each time to tie the game.
Truman Haugen (4) gave Georgia the lead around the midway point of the third period forcing South Carolina to scramble to get even. Despite being outshot 18-8 in the final frame, the Dawgs held on to win 4-3 and advance to the championship.
Semifinal - (No. 1) University of Tampa vs (No. 4) University of Alabama
The Tampa Spartans didn’t allow much hope for an Alabama upset, crushing the Frozen Tide 8-2. Alabama had defeated the mighty Spartans once this season, but couldn’t find the same success in the semifinal.
Tampa’s depth was on full display as 14 different skaters registered a point in the game, and four players had multiple points. William Decaro (38) made 23 saves and got the win for the Spartans.
Alabama didn’t leave Clarksville empty-handed though, winning the third-place game over South Carolina 4-2. The Tide trailed 2-1 entering the final period but scored three goals in 10 minutes to stun the Gamecocks.
Championship - (No. 1) Tampa vs (No. 3) Georgia
The championship game between Tampa and Georgia was surprisingly their first meeting of the season, but the game was played like two teams that were sick of each other. Plenty of penalties and rough stuff throughout the game despite the score disparity.
Georgia opened the scoring on the power play in the first period, but Nicholas Fontaine (89) scored 34 seconds later to tie the score at 1-1. A fiery and competitive opening period was not a sign of things to come, unfortunately.
Tampa dominated the final two periods with six unanswered goals to win the championship game 7-1. Ryan Andrews (2) had three assists in the game to lead all scorers and Kyle Myer (41) got the win in net.
Women’s Divison Playoffs
(No. 3) South Carolina vs (No. 6) University of Auburn: South Carolina 18-3
(No. 4) University of Miami vs (No. 5) University of South Florida: Miami 4-2
Semifinal - (No. 1) Tampa vs (No. 4) Miami
The theme of the weekend was Tampa's dominance, no matter which team was playing. The top-seeded Spartans spotted Miami a goal early but stormed back to cruise through the semifinal.
Much like the Men’s team, the Women’s team scored six unanswered, including two goals from Annaka Gendron (7). Megan Malolepszy (21) scored her 28th goal of the season in the dying minutes, but Tampa skated away with a 6-2 win.
Semifinal - (No. 2) Georgia vs (No. 3) South Carolina
South Carolina was able to avenge their Men’s team loss with a 13-2 drubbing of Georgia in the semifinal. The Gamecocks raced out to a 6-2 lead by the end of the first period and still managed to score seven more goals in the final two periods.
Two South Carolina skaters finished with hat-tricks in the semifinal game. Defenseman Alyssa Nardslico (19) scored all three of her goals in the first period and Averie Bowen (10) netted four goals.
Georgia didn’t fare much better in the third-place game, losing to Miami 9-1. Miami also had two players with hat tricks against Georgia. Jordan Naidrich (26) scored thrice and added an assist, and the dominant Megan Malolepszy (21) added three more goals to her season tally.
Championship - (No. 1) Tampa vs (No. 3) South Carolina
The championship game started with more dominance from Tampa, who built a 3-0 lead by the halfway point in the game. The Gamecocks would buck the trend though, and tighten the collar for the undefeated Spartans.
South Carolina exploded for three goals in less than four minutes to tie the score in the championship game, leaving one period to decide who would take the crown. The teams looked like they were destined for overtime until Avery Gugliotta (25) scored in the final minutes for Tampa to secure a Championship Weekend sweep.
Congratulations to both Tampa’s Women’s and Men’s Division 1 teams for winning the College Hockey South Championship Cup!
Division 2 North Division Playoff Race
We entered the weekend with two positions in the North Division playoff picture still up for grabs. Those spots have now been secured, and we have our playoff field!
Clemson Tigers needed two points to advance to the playoffs, and it looked like they were on their way to doing so when they built an early 4-1 lead against Middle Tennessee State. The Blue Raiders needed to win both games against Clemson to have any chance at making the playoffs, and their desperation nearly brought them back from the dead. Middle Tennessee State scored three of the final four goals of the game but fell short 5-4.
Alabama-Huntsville needed only a point in their two games against Georgia Tech to clinch a spot in next weekend’s playoffs. Henry Hoff’s five points, including three goals, powered the Chargers to a 7-4 win. Alabama-Huntsville needed 43 saves from Cameron Crawford (30) to seal the win, but the Chargers will play host in the Division 2 playoffs regardless.
The eight teams who will play for the Division 2 College Hockey South are as follows, from the North Division: Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Clemson, and Alabama-Huntsville. The teams representing the South Division are Florida Atlantic, Florida, Central Florida, and Tampa.
Week 17 Player of the Week: Defenseman Alyssa Nardslico, South Carolina
In three playoff games, Alyssa Nardslico collected six goals and three assists for nine total points. Nardslico recorded a hat trick in South Carolina’s quarterfinal and semifinal games, helping the Gamecocks make the championship game.
ABOUT College Hockey South: Founded in 2008, College Hockey South is a 29-school, 46 team intercollegiate hockey conference spanning seven southeastern U.S. states that competes in AAU College Hockey. College Hockey South is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization.