Tag: Ford Ice Center

Rookies Shine In Inaugural Games At The Ford Ice Center

The Vanderbilt Ice Hockey team ushered in a new era in its history this past weekend when it kicked off its 2014/15 campaign at the Ford Ice Center, the program’s brand new, state-of-the-art home arena located just outside of Nashville in Antioch, Tennessee. The club’s opponent, SECHC East rival South Carolina, proved every bit as tough as their reputation heading into the weekend as the two clubs split the series one game a piece. The Commodores fell 4-2 on Friday, only to bounce back with a resounding 7-3 win on Sunday morning.

Discipline a Factor in the Opener

Friday’s opener had all the buzz of a late season battle prior to the contest. Twitter and Facebook were lit up about the game, the highlight being a tweet from ESPN anchor and renowned hockey fan John Buccigross.

For the Vanderbilt players, the excitement was driven in large part by the unveiling of the club’s brand new locker room. With 21 locker stalls surrounding three sides of the room and jerseys from years past hung from the rafters, the new space made a huge impression on the boys – both for the growth that it signified and also for the connection it maintained with the club’s alumni and history.

The game itself lived up to expectations as the Gamecocks jumped to an early 1-0 lead in the fourth shift of the game. A defensive zone breakdown left South Carolina’s leading scorer Eric Patterson alone in the slot to hammer home the game’s first goal.

Vanderbilt would respond with some tremendously physical (and, at least in the early phase, clean) play. The club would draw a series of penalties and ultimately net the equalizing goal, a top shelf laser from the stick of defenseman Zach Satin at 12:16 in the second period. The sophomore’s goal was assisted by rookie transfer Bobby Mallon and sophomore Nick Honkala.

The game would devolve from there with a litany of penalties and undisciplined play from both teams. Despite a stout penalty kill performance throughout the night, the ‘Dores would yield a man-down goal to start the third.

South Carolina added an even strength goal at 9:32 in the final stanza to go up by two goals, seemingly icing the game … that is, until rookie transfer Ryan “Superstar” Doppelheuer cut the lead to 3-2 with 1:12 left in the contest.

Unfortunately for Vanderbilt, South Carolina would fire in an empty-netter from long distance to seal the win for the squad from Columbia. Final score, 4-2 Gamecocks.

Rebounding with Purpose

Vanderbilt entered Sunday’s tilt with a sour taste in its mouth. Had they played more five-on-five hockey, which was an opportunity fully within the team’s own control, the result may have been different.

Sunday would follow a more favorable script.

Leading off the scoring was senior Anthony Bilotta, assisted by Doppelheuer and last year’s “Murph” award winner as the club’s most valuable player John Longman. Patterson knotted the score at 1-1 at 13:13 of the period, only to see Doppelheuer score a pair and Longman notch his first of the season. It was 4-1 after 1.

Firing into the second period, it was all Bilotta, Doppelheuer, and Longman as all three tallied another to extend the lead to 7-1. The team was also aided by the play of junior Matt Neurohr and sophomore Tucker Rhodes who logged valuable minutes applying a ruthlessly effective forecheck as well as killing penalties.

The final score, 7-3, proved to the club that if it could stay disciplined and simply worry about playing hockey, it could beat a quality opponent like South Carolina. Given the team’s schedule in 2014/15, a brutal slog through many of the South region’s most challenging opponents, that confidence will come in handy.

Locking Down the Net

One particularly bright spot throughout the weekend was the play in net of rookie transfer Ryan Kellenberger, a nominee for the ACHA South region’s Player of the Week honors.

Kellenberger allowed just 3 goals in each of the two games while making 33 saves and 28 saves on Friday and Sunday, respectively. 3 of his 6 goals allowed were power play goals.

The club counted on Kellenberger to help set the tone for both the weekend and season and boy did he deliver. Both performances were exceptional, and were it not for Friday’s penalties and undisciplined play, he may have swept the weekend. Not surprisingly, Kellenberger received the game puck following Sunday’s win.

In the Driver’s Seat

Despite Friday’s loss, the Commodores still control their own destiny in the SECHC East division if they can win out versus Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee. Of course, winning six straight in the division will be no small feat as Florida is returning the majority of its 2013/14 roster which went deep into Regionals while Georgia and Tennessee are both well on their way to building the foundations for success this season. If the Commodores can battle and win all six, they’ll own the tiebreaker with South Carolina based on goals scored and goal differential and subsequently avoid perennial West powers Arkansas, Alabama, and Ole Miss in the first round of February’s SECHC tournament.

There will be no rest for the weary as the Commodores will immediately dive back into SECHC East division play versus Florida this weekend. The clubs will face-off at The ICE in Cumming, Georgia, a neutral site that accommodates the travel demands for both teams.

If you’re in the area, please drop in Saturday night at 10pm ET and Sunday morning at 11am ET as it should be another pair of hotly contested battles.

Thanks to all who came out to cheer on the club on Friday and Sunday. The crowds were beyond engaged which was awesome to see. Please keep the support coming, have a GREAT week ahead of next weekend’s games, and, of course … ANCHOR DOWN!

Mayor Dean, Host of Celebrities Celebrate the Grand Opening of the Ford Ice Center

Members of the Vanderbilt Hockey Club joined the city’s biggest party of the weekend last Friday when the Nashville Predators and Mayor Karl Dean hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the new Ford Ice Center located in Antioch, Tennessee.

The crowd attending the ceremony - a veritable who’s who from the Nashville hockey community that included Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton, Predators defenseman Seth Jones, 20-time Grammy winner and country music star Vince Gil, and Predators broadcast personalities Pete Weber, Stu Grimson, and Terry Crisp – was beyond excited to see the initiative officially cross the finish line. The opening represented a 50% increase in the amount of ice available to the greater Nashville area, an increase to 6 ice sheets from 4.

Spot a few familiar faces? The club was thrilled to not only carve out a few spots in the crowd but also don their new jerseys for the event. They’ll never be whiter and fresher!

After hopping on the ice for the free community skate and also grabbing a quick bite to eat, the Vanderbilt hockey players definitely left with the same assessment as Seth Jones. The facility is truly world class and will be an amazing asset for the Nashville hockey community for years to come.

Vanderbilt Ice Hockey Team To Host Inaugural 2014 MAPCO College Hockey Scholar Shootout

Ice hockey tournament set for October 3rd through October 5th, 2014, at the Ford Ice Center in Antioch, Tennessee, will focus on academic excellence in addition to athletic performance

Tuesday, 08.19.2014 | 12:00PM  |  Vanderbilt Hockey Team

NASHVILLE, TN – Vanderbilt University’s ice hockey club will host the inaugural 2014 MAPCO College Hockey Scholar Shootout Friday, October 3rd, through Sunday, October 5th, 2014, the Vanderbilt Hockey program announced today. The tournament will feature Vanderbilt alongside hockey programs from five other universities: the University of Florida, Georgia Tech, the University of North Carolina, Northwestern, and Wake Forest.

“The excitement for this event is huge because you have some big name schools participating,” Vanderbilt sophomore and co-chair for the Scholar Shootout Andrew Dellapina said, “and especially because we’re putting such a special focus on the ‘student’ part of the student-athlete paradigm.”

The teams participating, club-level programs that participate in the American Collegiate Hockey Conference (ACHA), all hail from universities that rank in the top-50 academically according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 College Rankings.

“The hockey players participating are non-scholarship athletes who are truly students first,” Vanderbilt head coach Thomas Bernstein said, “but they also love hockey and take a lot of pride in playing for their schools. They’re super talented, competitive athletes who all want to win this tournament so it should make for a really entertaining experience for players, coaches, and especially fans.”

The Shootout will take place at the Ford Ice Center, a brand new facility built by the city of Nashville and managed by the Nashville Predators organization. The 86,000-square-foot facility, which houses two ice rinks, eight locker rooms, several multi-function rooms, concession stands, a pro-shop, a workout facility, a video room and space for restaurants, is set to open its doors later this month.

“The opening of Ford Ice Center is an exciting time for both the hockey and skating communities in Middle Tennessee,” Ford Ice Center General Manager Danny Butler said. “All of us at Ford Ice Center are proud to be home to the Vanderbilt Hockey Club this season and are looking forward to welcoming the visiting teams at the Scholar Shootout in October, an event that showcases great student-athletes and is another shining example of how hockey is growing in the south.”

The event will be free for fans courtesy of MAPCO, the title sponsor for the event.

Further details on the 2014 MAPCO College Hockey Scholar Shootout, including the schedule for games, will be released in the coming weeks via the @VandyIceHockey Twitter account and www.vanderbilthockey.com website.


Download a PDF of this Press Release