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Smittys Scrum: Auburn Hockey Squad Schedule, Including Additional SEC Matchups

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Schedule updates

Leading up to the hockey season on the Plains, the Auburn Tigers have been busy. With tryouts, off-ice training and an upcoming media day all looming, it was a bit of a blessing that the opening game of the season on October 15 against UCF was far in the distance.

However, when the club got the chance to play against the University of Alabama on September 17, the club seized the opportunity, added the game to the schedule and accelerated preparations for their first game of the year. The Tigers will take on the Frozen Tide in Birmingham at the Pelham Civic Complex; puck drop is at 7pm.

The Alabamas program is currently facing financial difficulties and is at risk of dissolution if not properly funded in the near future. This rivalry match will serve as the team’s home opener and will be the first time since 2019 that the two sides have met.

Alabama currently competes at the DI and D-II levels of the ACHA, while Auburn will remain in the D-III Southeastern Collegiate Hockey Conference alongside most existing SEC programs. While hatred exists between the two programs, it was largely one-sided, with Alabama beating the Tigers 160-38 to take 17-0 during the first six seasons of the Iron Cup played. However, Auburn managed to finally get the upper hand in 2019, beating Alabama for the first time ever in front of a raucous home crowd and finishing the season with a winning record against their crimson foes. For two programs that seemingly went in opposite directions, this game means more than the final score could ever indicate. Will Auburn once again get rid of the area, or will the Tide return to their historic dominance? Well, we have to wait and see.

In other news on the schedule, the Tigers’ October 23 home opener was briefly jeopardized after their original opponent, Miami, suffered a program interruption. With no one to play at a critical point in the planned approach to fan engagement, President Brandon Weis reached out to a few friends within the conference who were eager to help. The University of Tennessee Ice Volunteers will travel to Columbus on opening weekend for a date with the Orange & Blue.

Reached out for comment on how the two programs managed to come to an agreement so quickly, team president Drew King said:

Auburn traveled to Knoxville last semester during the shortened COVID-19 season, so we wanted to return the favor and play at Auburn, but the original planning efforts didn’t work. After we learned that the Miami series was cancelled, I checked our schedule and saw that we were gone. Perfect opportunity to give something back.

In the end, Auburn probably takes advantage of what was originally a predicament, adding another exciting SECHC matchup to their schedule. The Ice Vols won the SECHC’s inaugural championship and have long been a power within the conference, though win numbers have declined in recent seasons. Both programs made it to the 2020 playoffs, with Auburn at number 7 and Tennessee at number 8. A renewed bid to return to the postseason will begin when the two meet again in October.

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2/ https://www.collegeandmagnolia.com/2021/9/12/22667688/smittys-scrum-auburn-college-hockey-changing-up-the-schedule-sec-alabama-tennessee-crimson-tide-vols

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