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Alabama's hockey team gears up for the remainder of its season, starting with a matchup against Tennessee on Friday at 8 p.m at the Pelham Civic Complex and Ice Area. The Frozen Tide rose to fifth in the South region of the ACHA; Central Florida, which the Tide will meet near the end of the season, is currently top-ranked.

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- The Alabama Frozen Tide hockey team plays Tennessee on Friday in the first of a nine-game home series to finish out the regular season.

The matchup against the Volunteers at the Pelham Civic Complex and Ice Arena comes after a month away from the rink for end-of-semester exams and a holiday break.

According to head coach Mike Quenneville, the team is focused on two important post-season goals as it enters the home stretch.

"January will be a critical month for our hockey team and program," Quenneville said. "It is very important to be ranked in the top 10 in the region in the final ranking period in the second week of February. Getting to regionals is a must."

Alabama currently sits at 9-8-0-1, winning four of its last six pre-holiday outings. Currently, Central Florida is the top-ranked team in the South region by the ACHA (American Collegiate Hockey Association); the Tide is currently in fifth place in the South region, following strong outings against ranked Central Florida, Florida Gulf Coast and Ole Miss.

"If we are able to be ranked first or second, then we would have an automatic bid to nationals. And we play Central Florida at the end of January in our last two home games," Quenneville said.

"We have played the toughest schedule of any team in the South and maybe in the country," he said.

Quenneville said that Alabama's recent surge in play says good things about the way the team could finish out the season.

"We played more consistently towards the end of our fall schedule. We have out-played and out-shot our opponents in just about every game but we need to get better at finishing all 60 minutes," he said.

"We control our own destiny in terms of getting to regionals and even an automatic bid to nationals," Quenneville said.

Following the game against Tennessee on Friday, the Tide meets Army (Fort Benning) in a tentative two-game schedule on Saturday and Sunday. The Tide then welcomes Auburn to the annual Iron Bowl rivalry the following weekend.

The schedule for the rest of the season is as follows:

Fri., Jan. 10: Tennessee 8:00 p.m.

Sat., Jan. 11 Army (Fort Benning) 7:30 p.m.

Fri. Jan. 17 Auburn 8:00 p.m.

Sat., Jan. 18 Auburn 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Jan. 19 Auburn 1:00 p.m.

Fri., Jan. 24 Ole Miss 8:00 p.m.

Sat., Jan. 25 Georgia 7:30 p.m.

Fri., Jan. 31 Central Florida 8:00 p.m.

Sat., Feb. 1 Central Florida 7:30 p.m.

Fri-Sat-Sun, Feb. 7-9 SECHC Playoffs TBD

All games will be played in Pelham; tickets can be purchased at the door. For more information on the Frozen Tide, visit .

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