A new era has arrived in Vanderbilt Hockey. The Vanderbilt Commodores kicked off the new season at their brand-new home at Ford Ice Center with a weekend series against the South Carolina Gamecocks, which ended in a series split in the two games played.
Friday night’s contest between both teams would be decided by their special teams units as both teams combined for 23 penalties with Vanderbilt scoring a power-play goal past the halfway mark in the second period and South Carolina scoring a power-play marker 15 seconds into the third period. Goaltender Ryan Kellenberger stood on his head throughout the game to keep Vanderbilt in striking distance making 35 saves, but it was not enough as Eric Patterson netted two goals and the rest of the South Carolina Gamecocks would take the 4-2 victory on Friday night.
A wild incident had occurred in the halfway point of the third period as Jack Gibbons was being called for elbowing that led to South Carolina scoring the game-winning goal. Even though South Carolina scored during the delayed penalty call, they still enforced the penalty to Gibbons and he took his frustrations out on the boards as he slammed his stick multiple times up against the boards. Gibbons was given a game misconduct and scratched from the game on Sunday.
Then it was off to Sunday morning where the script from the last game had flipped over. South Carolina didn’t come out with the same urgency as they did on Friday night and it was the Commodores that took advantage of the Gamecocks mishaps that would give Vanderbilt a 4-1 lead going into the first intermission. Ryan Doppelheuer would later pick up his hat-trick as the Commodores cruised to a 7-3 victory over the Gamecocks to split the weekend series.
“It was a team effort,” said Doppelheuer on his hat-trick. “Everyone played really well on our line. [We] just worked really hard and everyone was pretty disciplined so I think that was the biggest difference, 5-on-5 play.”
The Vanderbilt Commodores next set of games will be down in Cumming, GA next weekend as they take on the Florida Gators, and then will host the College Hockey Scholar Shootout at the Ford Ice Center from Oct. 3-5.