By Russ Eddins
The Rebs took the opener 5-1 and dropped game two 5-3 (the game was closer than the final score indicates). After the first series, the team knows what to work on.
Ole Miss started slowly, but found a groove in the middle of the first and never looked back. The 5-1 score implies that Ole Miss dominated this game. It did not feel like that at times, but ultimately, they did.
The Rebs played a full 60-minute game from start to finish, which is one of my biggest takeaways.
Game two was at 9:15 a.m. on Sunday. The Rebs played well, but made too many little mistakes. Additionally, they took too many penalties, which put them on their heels for a while.
Ole Miss had a 2-0 lead with seconds left in the first period. Georgia Tech managed to score just before the clock expired and that goal got them back in the game.
After eventually being down by a goal, the Ice Rebs were so close to tying the game up late in the third, but Georgia Tech’s goalie made some phenomenal saves to keep his team ahead.
Georgia Tech scored an empty net goal (teams that are down by one or two goals late in the game will often pull their goalie so they can put another skater on the ice) to seal the deal and earn the split.
There were several standout performances in this series (I will get to those later), but this was also a well-played series by Ole Miss as a team.
OMH 1 / GTH 0
Unfortunately, the game broadcast went down just before the first period, so I spent half of it trying to get it back up. I did not see the first goal of the year for the Ice Rebs. I asked the coach about the goal, and he said Keller passed to O’Malley in the slot, and he buried it.
OMH 2 / GTH 0
The scorekeepers marked the goal as unassisted, but a defenseman (possibly Emerson) shot the puck from the point; the puck bounced off the wall behind the goal, and Richard Price collected the rebound and shot it to a wide-open net. The goalie was facing the OMH defenseman at the point and could not find the puck on the opposite side of the crease fast enough.
OMH 3 / GTH 0
Jake Keller put pressure on the puck; he stole it from Georgia Tech and passed it to O’Malley in the middle of the slot. O’Malley went bardown for his second goal of the game.
OMH 4 / GTH 0
Freshman Doyle Coughlin weaved his way through the defense and scored Ole Miss’s fourth goal of the game.
OMH 5 / GTH 0
Ian Selissen skated around the GTH defense from the D-zone to the low slot to make it 5-0. The goalie almost made the save, but the puck trickled across the goal line.
OMH 5 / GTH 1
GTH avoided the shutout after a reverse-wrap-around backhander from #7 Cullen Dorcas.
OMH 1 / GTH 0
Robert Broyzna took a shot from the point. The puck hit off the back of a Georgia Tech skater and went into the goal.
OMH 2 / GTH 0
Cole Waddel hit Mike O’Malley from the D-zone to the other blue line on a stretch pass. O’Malley skated around two Georgia Tech players, passed to Jake Keller in the slot, and Keller doubled the lead with a remarkably quick wrister.
OMH 2 / GTH 1
With 1.8 seconds left in the first period, Georgia Tech won a faceoff in their offensive zone. They hit the puck towards the net off the faceoff, and in a scramble for the puck, a Georgia Tech player managed to get the puck in the net to cut the deficit in half.
OMH 3 / GTH 1
Mike O’Malley and Austin Pellegrino combined for a shorthanded goal. O’Malley passed to Pellegrino, who was in the slot and in the clear, and Pelly tucked it under the arm of the Georgia Tech goalie.
OMH 3 / GTH 2
After a block from the Ole Miss defense and a save from Millman, a Georgia Tech defenseman collected the puck, avoided a block, and shot it to the top left of the goal.
OMH 3 / GTH 3
Georgia Tech forward Cullen Dorcas had a nice shot to tie it up at three. The puck appeared to just go over Millman’s head and into the goal.
OMH 3 / GTH 4
A giveaway from Ole Miss led to the game-winning goal for Georgia Tech. Some good passing and positioning from Tech were also a big part of this goal.
OMH 3 / GTH 5
This goal was the empty netter that put the game on ice for Georgia Tech.
Mike O’Malley: he had two goals and two assists for four points in two games.
Josh Millman: I do not have the exact number of shots he faced, but I estimate he faced at least 75 shots on goal over the span of two games. He allowed four goals, so, based on my estimate, his save percentage was .947 (for reference, anything at or over .900 is good).
Jake Keller: he had one goal and two assists for three points in two games.
You could not have asked for a better opening game as a fan. Head coach Herbert described the game as “a quality win.” It was also the team’s first home victory since 2021 (like I have said before, 2022-23 was a bad year for the Ice Rebs).
To get a quality win in the first game of the season was very important for the team. Herbert said, “It’s the expectation now…come out, and you work for all three periods.”
The new system worked well. However, when I asked Herbert about the new system he said, “When we executed it, it worked. When we didn’t, obviously, it put us on our heels.”
What Needs Work?
The power play units need some work. Ole Miss struggled in that facet of the game in the opening series.
The team also needs to work on settling down. They “have a tendency right now of kinda getting too high on the highs and too low on the lows”.
Puck battles were an issue for the team this weekend as well (a puck battle is when two or more players fight for the puck, typically in the corners). Defense coach Erwin said the team needs to work on “Puck battles, puck races…Doing things with a purpose.” Lastly, the Ice Rebs gave away the puck too many times.
The team will address those issues in practice and will be ready for their next series in Dallas.