SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Georgia Tech and Florida earned wins on the opening night of the 2018 Savannah Tire Hockey Classic.
The Gators held off a late Georgia rally for a 7-5 win, while Georgia Tech jumped on Florida State early in a 12-4 win.
Georgia and Georgia Tech will face off in Saturday's night cap, while Florida and Florida State get the action going at 5:30 p.m.
Players say this is one of their favorite events to play all season, and the reason is the crowd.
"The atmosphere is really electric with all these fans," said Florida State junior center John Bradshaw. "It's unlike any tournament. It's really cool, and in a special city, you can have some fun later. It's a great time."
"For these guys, it's their one opportunity a year to play in front of 6,000 people on a Saturday night," said Savannah Sports Council director Rob Wells. "It's great."
These guys aren't scholarship athletes. They're simply playing for school pride and the love of the game.
"If you're playing club hockey, you really love the game. You're not here because you want to try it," Bradshaw said. "You've played your whole life and you want to keep the dream alive as long as possible. This may be where dreams go to die, but at the end of the day, you get to live the glory days."
The event will take place at the Savannah Civic Center. Tickets range from $12 to $18.
For additional information or to purchase tickets online, click here.