The story for the IcePack this season is a story of success, and tonight’s game was no exception. Coming into the game, the IcePack was undefeated and had won almost every game by a sizable margin, averaging 7.5 PPG. The Tar Heels, despite a three-game losing streak, came to PNC looking to upset the home team in this heated rivalry game. However, Coach Gazzillo and his crew were far from letting this happen, defeating the Tarheels in a 9-5 victory.
This was no doubt an extremely aggressive first period by both offenses. The Tarheels would strike early with #22 Mason Regan and #93 Richard Chen both scoring goals within the first 4 minutes. The IcePack would answer quickly though with #2 Sam “Captain Clutch” Banasiewicz answering with a goal from beyond the right face-off circle. The Heels would reply quickly with another goal with 12:44 left in the period, followed by an almost immediate reply from #8 Nikita Anistratov. Both teams would step up on defense after the explosive start, with both goalies blocking shot after shot. As the first period drew to a close, the score was 3-2 with the Heels leading by one goal.
The first 5 minutes of the second period would see 2 fights break out. The first between #4 Eric Mura for the IcePack and #44 Matt Richard for the Tar Heels, and the second one between #14 Brendan Seppy for the Pack and #92 Daniel Jones for the Heels. These teams do not like each other, and it becomes ever apparent as emotions continue to run high between these rivals. The IcePack would tie the game 3-3 midway through the second period with a goal from #11 Riley Johnson. The Heels would attempt several times to answer, but each attempt would be promptly denied by goalie Joey Hall for the Pack. During the final 5 minutes of the period, the IcePack would score twice with goals from both #5 Alex Vedetta and #21 Alex Robinson. This would allow the Pack to end the period with a promising 5-3 lead over the Heels.
The third period was completely dominated by the IcePack as the Heels defense began to crack. #19 manages to slot the puck past #33 Joey Hall for a Tar Heel goal, thinning the Pack’s lead to 1. However, the IcePack answers with a three-goal barrage from #28 Ian O’Rourke, #25 Parker Szarek, and #17 Tyler Alfonzo respectively. These goals all came within the span of 3 minutes and would leave the Pack sitting pretty with an 8-4 lead with 12:21 left in the game. The exhausted Heels defense would not recover from this late bombardment from the IcePack, allowing another goal from #19 Eric Todd. This game certainly lived up to its title of the “Backyard Brawl”. This game was a straight up slug match marked by several fights, lots of big hits, and 14 penalties between both teams. Despite a late goal from #16 Justin Magin for the Tar Heels, the IcePack would prevail with a 9-5 victory.
This Backyard Brawl undoubtedly lived up to its name. This game was a straight up slug match marked by two big fights, lots of hard hits, and 14 penalties, 8 of which would be against the Pack. NC State will maintain their perfect record with this win, now sitting at 9-0 (6-0 ACC). Their next game will be on November 2nd at 8:45pm in the IcePlex, where they will host in-state rival Charlotte. To learn more, go to http://www.ncsuhockey.org or follow the IcePack on Twitter @NCStateHockey.