Tag: South Carolina

Vandy Opens The Season With 2-1 Start In SEC Play, Including Split Versus South Carolina

Following an opening weekend drubbing of Mississippi State 15-1, Vanderbilt cruised to a 7-2 win in its weekend opener versus SEC rival South Carolina despite an even split of 24 penalties. The Dores dropped a chippy Game 2 against a stout and stubborn Gamecock Defense.

The Vanderbilt Commodores Ice Hockey Club kicked off its season with an SECHC matchup against Mississippi State in what proved to be a lopsided affair that saw a little bit of everything – a 10-goal first period, goals from a slew of freshmen, appearances by all three Commodore goalies, and even the club’s first live-streamed event on Periscope. In attendance were a number of VU Hockey greats in town for the club’s alumni game set for the following Saturday. The legends dated from 1976 (Wade Cowan) through the mid-90s (Roland Baggot) and all the way up to the 2000s (Jordan Katz, Ryan Weekes, and Scooter McLaughlin), to name a few. It was a fantastic start to the season for the club and a great weekend for all involved – current and alumni players, both on and off the ice.

The following weekend saw the Commodores square off against perennial SEC power South Carolina. Having split with SC the previous two seasons, Vanderbilt’s goal was to sweep the weekend and set the tone for the season. Unfortunately, like the previous two, the club would only get halfway to that goal.

In Game 1 of the weekend, the Gamecocks took an early lead in the first period after a puck from the point deflected off multiple defenders and looped its way over Commodore net minder Ryan Kellenberger’s shoulder into the net. Nick Honkala would knot the game up with 7:24 remaining, and after the intermission, scored again to put the Commodores ahead 2-1 just over 2 minutes into the period. Freshman Jeremy Gross proceeded to score after a filthy setup from rookie Sophomore Patrick McNamara, extending the lead to 3-1. Patty Mac made his way past one defender and bounced back around another before dishing a great pass to an open Gross. The freshman buried his chance, and followed it up with an even better celebration, uncharacteristic of a young rookie. The ‘Dores took a two-goal advantage into the second intermission.

It was all gas for Vanderbilt in the third period. Nick Sanchez, another rookie Sophomore, opened the scoring 2:07 into the period for his first career goal, and would add another eleven minutes later in the period. Ryan Doppelheuer would add 2 goals as well, one of which was a well-placed wrist shot to the top shelf on the power play. Those goals came courtesy of 2 assists from Doppelheuer, two from captain John Longman, two from Sanchez, and one from Zach Satin. Senior goaltender Ryan Kellenberger, fresh off of his SEC-MVP winning season, made 27 saves on 29 shots for the ‘Dores. The game would end 7-2 in favor of Vanderbilt, but not before the referees called 24 penalties (12 on each team), most of which were contested by both teams’ coaches.

South Carolina proved a much tougher opponent in the second game of the weekend, coming out with more intensity and physicality than in the opener. Vanderbilt absorbed the pressure well early on behind great play from Kellenberger. It wasn’t until a little over halfway through the second period when the Commodores finally broke through. Rookie Senior Spencer “Rosie” Rosenstein broke the deadlock with an incredible wrist shot. He stripped a defensemen on the doorstep, and falling over, managed to roof one directly above the head of the Gamecocks goalie. Rosie of course cele’d, though his form fell short of the rookie Gross.

The Gamecocks would knot the game minutes later and the game eventually became a back and forth affair of chances, but the Gamecocks had the last one, and buried it with under 3 minutes remaining. The ‘Dores couldn’t rally back from there, and fell 2-1.

The weekend split leaves the ‘Dores’ record at 2-1. Their next games are home for the Scholar Shootout Tournament, where Vanderbilt is looking to defend its title (and the coveted Keith Davis Memorial Trophy – a.k.a. “The Davey”). The 3-game weekend will include match-ups against Georgia Tech on Fri. October 7, Notre Dame Sat. October 8, and Northwestern Sun. October 9.

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!

Beaten and Tired, ‘Dores Scrape Together Big SECHC Wins

Like the rest period the VU Hockey team had between its games against South Carolina last Friday (at 9:30pm) and Saturday (at 9:30am), this week’s recap will be short, sweet, and full of drama. Playing with a short bench and missing loads of firepower, the Frozen Commodores of Davidson County, TN, notched two wins against the University of South Carolina Gamecocks in their first SECHC contests of the season.

Before a raucous crew on Friday and a decidedly more benign crowd on Saturday, Vanderbilt gutted its way through injuries and exhaustion to ensure that the bus ride – yes, you read that right, BUS ride – back to Nashville would be an upbeat one. “It was so awesome to fire home the game winner and know that we’d have smiles on our faces for the nine hour trip back to campus,” said sophomore transfer Brad Pesce. “Our celebratory Chick-fil-a tasted even better than it normally does!”

Friday Night Recap

The weekend started off with a bang as the Vanderbilt team roared out to a 3-0 first period lead. Pesce and graduate MBA student Ryan Weekes started off the scoring flurry with their first goals in a Vandy uniform, each coming on special teams (the power play and penaly kill, respectively). Kyle McCann followed with a third, also on the power play.

“At that point, I think we thought we were going to cruise,” said freshman defenseman Harry Londoff. “But as my pappy always says, ‘Not so fast my friends!’ That game was just getting started.” (Point of clarification: Londoff’s pappy is in fact not Lee Corso, ESPN College Gameday analyst. Pappy is simply an admirer of Mr. Corso’s work.)

South Carolina broke the ice with a goal halfway through the second period and the two teams proceeded to trade blows up to and through (literally) the final buzzer of the third. The game ended only moments before South Carolina trickled a shot in past the Commodores goal line that would have tied the contest.

“The puck rolled up my shoulder kind of in slow motion,” said senior goalie Brenden Oliver. “Would that have gone in had there been 10 extra seconds on the clock? I’d like to think my brain would have willed my body to make the save, that the buzzer sounding essentially triggered an instant transformation into celebratory, ‘floor seats at the Taylor Swift concert’ Brenden. But honestly? I think we just got lucky.”

The frenetic pace of the final two minutes was made all the more dramatic by the Commodores bench which failed to manage its personnel properly. With a minute left in the game, the Vanderbilt and South Carolina clubs each having a player in the penalty box, and the Gamecocks pulling their goalie, Vandy skated four players plus a goalie against five and an empty net for USC. Upon seeing the five Gamecock skaters and thinking that the Vandy side was short-handed, one of the Commodores (who shall remain nameless) hopped onto the ice to even the tilt. Thankfully, the player jumped back on the bench as quickly as he had jumped off, likely because Coach Bernstein lost his mind at the lapse in judgement, and the referees missed the “too many men” call.

Who did not miss the call? An incensed South Carolina bench led by first year coach Brian Bauman (who, I should note, provided us with tremendous hospitality throughout the entire weekend … thanks Brian!). Their pleads for justice and retribution fell on deaf ears, however, and the game proceeded with its existing numbers.

“Not our best performance,” said a gruff Bernstein after the game who, in spite of the win, was more than mildly upset at the chaos of the final moments. “In this one instance, I’m glad we have a game in 11 hours so we can redeem ourselves.”

Thrill-ina in South Carolina

A stretch of a headline here? In the rhyming sense, absolutely, but in terms of summing up Saturday morning’s clash I would say a Muhammad Ali-esque title is altogether appropriate.

“I could barely keep my eyes open,” said freshman defenseman Logan Johnston who, along with Londoff and sophomores Jim Butler and Alan Leeser, played every other shift for both games. “I’m used to 15- or 17-minute periods in games. That extra 3- to 5-minute addition each period makes a huge difference, especially when you play back to back.”

The game started off slowly for both teams with the first period ending in a 0-0 tie. That pattern veered sharply in the second when South Carolina jumped up to a seemingly insurmountable two-goal lead. Said senior captain Matt Kaminsky, “Our energy level was just way down. We needed a breather, some tunes, and a little reminder of what Vanderbilt hockey is all about.”

And what might that be?

“The third period,” said Kaminsky. “Our period.”

It certainly proved to be the case as Leeser, who played defense for most of the weekend, swapped roles on the front line with senior Tom Trepanier and quickly scored to cut the lead in half. Trepanier followed with his own magic, slicing in from the point to one-time a cross-ice pass from Kaminsky to tie the game at 3-3. The game stayed knotted at that score until the Gamecocks stuffed home a workman-like rebound at the two minute mark. Again, the ‘Dores found themselves with another hole to climb out of.

Explained sophomore forward Kyle Stachowiak, “We called a timeout and lined up a play for the last minute of the game. We pulled Brenden, and for a face-off in the zone we had McCann match-up on the dot and had Alan stay high on the circle. McCann was supposed to win the puck back to Alan, Alan was supposed to shoot it, and Matt [Kaminsky] and Brad [Pesce] were to crash the net to stuff home any rebounds.”

“It worked to perfection. Alan got the shot, Matt corralled and dished the rebound, and Alan lit the lamp.”

0:18 on the clock. 4-4 tie.

First Overtime of the Season

The game ended with a Messier-like proclamation, a Bambino-like performance, a Namath-like moment. If you can think of other iconic New York sports moments, please go ahead and conjure them as they are all appropriate in the context of Westchester, NY, native Brad Pesce’s prophetic statement prior to the start of overtime, “Boys, we’re not losing this game.” He was right because, after taking a shot that nearly splashed the back of the net seven seconds into the extra session, Pesce himself scored the game winner just thirteen seconds into overtime.

“What a way to end the weekend,” said an exhausted but jubilant Pesce. “Awesome stuff, can’t wait for our next set of games!”

Weekly Thank You’s

Big thanks go out to Mr. Charles Lassiter, our bus driver for the venture down to Columbia. In addition to being a crackerjack navigator and an absolutely wonderful man, Mr. Charles was also a bestower of countless nuggets of wisdom such as, “Remember that the chickens stay in the garden during the day and the pot in the evening,” and, “You can always do difficult, it’s the impossible that takes a while.” He also said, “I’ll tell you what boys, I’m not taking you all this way to lose!” Mr. Charles, we appreciate you adding to the experience and hope that we can have you captain the VU hockey ship to a future game later this season!

Also, a pre-thank you goes out to junior Stephen Mozur who, in his role as secretary, will be examining the pros and cons of taking buses to the club’s games. Early editing of Mr. Mozur’s work has yielded a healthy buzz of anticipation throughout the locker room so stay tuned to www.vanderbilthockey.com for his submission.

Finally, we would like to thank everyone for their continued support of the team and to let you know that we’ll be back on the ice this weekend facing off against Georgia State (Friday, 9/30, at 8:10pm) and Georgia Tech (Saturday, 10/1, at 3:40pm). If you’re in or around the Atlanta area, please come check us out!

Game Information
Date & Time: Friday, September 23rd, 2011 at 9:30pm ET
Location: IcePLEX – Irmo, SC
Attendance: 120

1 2 3 F &#9733
Kyle McCann (C): 2 goals, 1 assist
VU 3 1 1 5 &#9733&#9733
Brenden Oliver (G): 49 saves
SC 0 3 1 4 &#9733&#9733&#9733
Jordan Zauderer (RW): 1 goal, 1 assist
First Period Scoring Summary
Time: Team:
Scoring Detail:
15:42 VU
Pesce (1) – Stachowiak
1 0
6:46 VU
Weekes (1) – Unassisted
2 0
4:03 VU
McCann (2) – Stachowiak, Butler
3 0
Second Period Scoring Summary
Time: Team:
Scoring Detail:
10:01 SC
Gjetley – Wiant, Lancaster
3 1
4:19 VU
Zauderer (1) – McCann
4 1
1:38 SC
Jonas – Foster
4 2
Third Period Scoring Summary
Time: Team:
Scoring Detail:
16:53 SC
Brown – Swint, Clark
4 3
11:31 VU
McCann (3) – Zauderer
5 3
0:27 SC
Lancaster – Whitmeyer, Wint
5 4

Game Information
Date & Time: Saturday, September 24th, 2011 at 9:30am ET
Location: IcePLEX – Irmo, SC
Attendance: 60

1 2 3 OT F &#9733
Brenden Oliver (G): 46 saves
VU 0 1 3 1 5 &#9733&#9733
Brad Pesce (RW): 1 goal, 2 assists
SC 0 3 1 0 4 &#9733&#9733&#9733
Alan Leeser (D): 2 goals
First Period Scoring Summary
Time: Team:
Scoring Detail:
No scoring
Second Period Scoring Summary
Time: Team:
Scoring Detail:
12:29 SC
Wiant – Swint, Lancaster
0 1
5:43 VU
Londoff (1) – Butler, Kaminsky
1 1
2:19 SC
Lancaster – Swint
1 2
0:33 SC
Lancaster – Brown, Wiant
1 3
Third Period Scoring Summary
Time: Team:
Scoring Detail:
15:43 VU
Leeser (2) – Pesce, Kaminsky
2 3
12:23 VU
Trepanier (1) – Kaminsky, Pesce
3 3
3:04 SC
Andony – Brown, Swint
3 4
0:18 VU
Leeser (3) – McCann, Kaminsky
4 4
Overtime Scoring Summary
Time: Team:
Scoring Detail:
4:47 VU
Pesce (2) – Kaminsky
5 4