By Aileyahu Shanes
Follow on Twitter @a_shanes10
If you ask almost any Florida Gator hockey player, either current or former, what their favorite memory with the team is, almost always the answer is the Savannah Hockey Classic. The Enmarket Savannah Hockey Classic is an annual college hockey tournament featuring the Gators, the Georgia Bulldogs, the Florida State Seminoles and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
The tournament started in 1999, with Georgia Tech winning the first ever Thrasher Cup. The most recent winners were the Bulldogs in 2020, with 2021 being canceled due to COVID. The Gators are coming into the tournament hoping to win their first Thrasher Cup since 2015.
The Gators first game will be against the University of Georgia tonight at 8:30pm. The Bulldogs lead the SECHC with a 10-1-0 record, clinching a playoff spot. They also have an impressive overall record, going 15-3-0 so far this season. Like Georgia Tech, they are an offensive powerhouse. In their last game, they dominated the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers 7-3 on December 5th.
Georgia has some high-quality forwards in their lineup. Leading the team in points is Jackson Katz. Katz is a senior out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has 33 points, 9 goals and 24 assists in 18 games played. Leading the team in goals is junior Matthew Bigda. The Marietta, Georgia, product has 12 goals and 23 points in just 15 games. Josh Mesaros is a player to look out for as well. The sophomore out of Atlanta has 22 points, 10 goals and 12 assists in 16 games.
The second game will be tomorrow at 5:30pm against FSU. Unlike Georgia, the Seminoles have failed to find consistent success this season. They currently hold a 1-2-2 SECHC record, currently in the third-to-last spot in the SECHC standings, and a 1-8-2 overall record. They did, however, win their last game against the University of Tennessee 4-3 in a shootout; but that was in November, and they may be a little rusty after the long hiatus.
Some notable point leaders are forwards Josh Shames, Hamilton Reese and defenseman Ryan Myer. Shames is a freshman from Hanworth, New Jersey. In his 11 games played, Shames put up 9 points, four goals and five assists. Junior Hamilton Reese leads the Noles in goals with five. The Tampa native has 7 total points in his 11 games. Leading in points for FSU’s defensive group, Myer has 4 goals and 4 assists in just 9 games. The junior is looking to put up a good performance this weekend in his home state.