Sunday, May 22, 2022

Ole Miss Ice Rebs Face Yellow Jackets in Tupelo

SOUTHHAVEN, MISS. Ole Miss Head Coach Angelo Rosena fires up his team during a timeout in the third period against Arkansas, at the Mid South Ice House.  Photo by David Kennedy
Ole Miss Head Coach Angelo Rosena fires up his team during a timeout in the third period against Arkansas, at the Mid South Ice House. / Photo by David Kennedy

This weekend the Ole Miss hockey team will host a three game series at the Bancorp South Arena in Tupelo. The team will face-off against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and then play the Vanderbilt Commodores on Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Ice Rebs are off to a slow start this season with a 4-4-4 record. Last time the team played was on Oct. 20 and 21, against Arkansas, the top-ranked team in the South Region, losing 8-2. The next day the Ice Rebs showed a lot of improvement, but still lost 3-1.
“Record-wise sure, its not ideal just like how we have started in the past,” head coach Angelo Rosena said. “But we haven’t played these (high) caliber teams like this early in the season before. The two best games we have played so far have been against the two best teams in the country. That would be the 3-1 lost to Arkansas and the 2-1 loss to Oakland University. ”
On Sept. 26, the Ice Rebs played an away game at Oakland University, who is the No. 1 team in the country and lost 2-1. On Oct. 10 and 11, the Ice Rebs defeated and tied the South Carolina Gamecocks, who hold the No. 7 ranking in the South Region. The Ice Rebs currently hold the No. 9 ranking in the South Region. Only the Top 8 teams qualify for the regional tournament.
“I don’t think our record reflects the way we have played,” senior captain Sean Rogers said. “Morale is up. Everybody knows we are going to come in here and battle hard. If we do that we are going to get two wins.”
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets come into Tupelo with a record of 9-5-1. The Yellow Jackets have been on a roll and have won three of its last four games and tied against Vanderbilt. The Yellow Jackets hold the number No. 14 spot in the South Region rankings.
“Georgia Tech will be a pretty good test. They are a really well rounded team. We haven’t played them in two years though. They are not going to be Arkansas, but they are definetly not going to give us anything, ” Rogers said.
The last time Ole Miss played Georgia Tech was also the last game Coach Angelo Rosena played hockey. On Nov. 4, 2011, Rosena took an awkward hit, injuring his knee in a 6-3 loss to Mississippi State. After taking two weeks of rest, Rosena reinjured his knee in a 2-0 loss against Georiga Tech. After getting an MRI, the doctor told him that his knee injury is chronic and that it will require career ending surgery.
“It was just a regular hockey play. I hold nothing against them. It was so long ago…I don’t even know if they have the same coach and I’m sure they have completely different players.” said Rosena.
After the two game series against Georgia Tech, The Ice Rebs will play the Vanderbilt Commodores on Sunday at 1 p.m. Last season in the SEC tournament the Ice Rebs defeated Vanderbilt 9-2, finishing 6th in the SEC. This year the Commodores are arguably the most improved team in the SEC, coming into Tupelo with an 8-3 record.
“Vanderbilt has improved a lot since last year,” senior forward Quinten Humphrey said. “They have played some of the same teams we have played this year. We tied Kennesaw State earlier this year and they (Vanderbilt) beat them. I think thats a good sign for the fans, who are coming to see a good game on Sunday.”
Vanderbilt’s hockey program is one of the oldest in the SEC dating back to 1976. After a couple of losing seasons, the program is changing its work ethic to rebuild the team around two major additions in the offseason.
“The key for us has been taking the team a little bit more serious this year with more practice,” said club president and Captain Greg Kirk in a phone interview. “Also, we got a couple key transfers this year, including our goalie Ryan Kellenberger and one of our top scorers Ryan Doppelhuer.”
For Ole Miss students who want to see the Ice Rebs play Georgia Tech on saturday, a party bus will leave the MDOT lot on Old Taylor Road at 6:15 p.m. Bus tickets are $18 and a ticket to the game is $7. Patrons are permitted to bring small coolers onto the bus for the hour long bus ride to Tupelo. Beer is also served at the Bancorp South Arena. To reserve your tickets, contact Sean Diver at (615) 480-4936.
-David Kennedy is Ole Miss junior journalism major at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. He can be contacted at dmkenned@go.olemiss.edu.

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