Gators Pick Up Conference Win Over Mississippi State To Start Season

GAINESVILLE, Fla.- The Ice Gators swept through Mississippi State twice this weekend to pick up an important conference win Friday night, 11-3. Florida (2-0, 1-0 SECHC) also defeated the Ice Dawgs (0-2, 0-1) on Saturday night, 19-4, in a non-conference match up.

Only one game counted toward the conference standings as the two teams play in separate divisions. The second game only counts toward conference standings if the two teams are in the same divisions.

On Friday night, Michael Dutka and Danny Hill put in a strong offense performance as both scored hat tricks. Captain Scott Schwartz and sophomore Dominic Djamco added two goals each leading the Gators to a solid victory of 11-3.

Dutka had a career weekend for the Ice Gators and finished the weekend with seven goals and five assists. The 12-point performance nearly surpasses last year’s 15-point season in 24 games.

The wins for Florida came after little preparation time with only a few practices in the book.

“We have a lot of work to do, but we are pretty excited about our first two games,” said assistant head coach Mike Marcinkiewicz.

On Saturday, both teams came out strong offensively. Mississippi State’s Tim Poznaniak caught the Gators’ defense off guard and scored 15 seconds into the game to put the Ice Dawgs up.

The Gators were able to tie it up five minutes later, but the Ice Dawgs went up again with a quick response. RC Martin, who led the conference in points (57) and tied for lead in goals (30), last season scored less than two minutes later.

Florida took control soon after going down 2-1. The Gators started steam rolling soon after, scoring five more times in the first period.

“They [Gators] came out wanting to win, and we couldn’t keep our game together,” said Mississippi State skater Bill Walker. “It doesn’t matter who we play next, We’ve got to work harder than we did tonight.”

The highlight goal in the second period came when Florida’s Michael Jugan scored while the Gators were down two men on a 5-on-3 penalty kill.

The Ice Dawgs were able to add a pair of goals in the third. However, the Gators continue rolling to the victory.

Florida will host Clemson for one game on Friday, Sept. 30 in Orlando, Fla. The puck drops at 10:15 p.m.

Mississippi State will have a weekend to regroup before traveling to Alabama for a pair of SECHC conference games. On Friday Oct. 7, the Ice Dawgs will play the Frozen Tide at 8 p.m. at the Pelham Civic Center, in Pelham, Ala. Saturday’s game will be at 7:30 p.m.