The NC State men’s club hockey team easily routed the Richmond Spiders by a final score of 16-0 in its first game of ACC play.
The NC State club hockey team (3-0-0, ACC 1-0) found its third straight win as it took on the Spiders (2-3-0) in what was just simply a score-fest at the Raleigh Iceplex on Friday, Oct. 4.
Multiple players had multi-goal games including sophomore Alex Robinson with three, junior Eric Todd also with three, and senior captain Ryan Kinney and sophomore Parker Szarek each scored twice in the blowout victory.
“We skated really hard even when it got to be a blowout,” Robinson said. “We got to get ready for Liberty next weekend, big showcase, so really we wanted to keep going, keep pushing it, keep pushing the pace even though it was really not much of a game at the end.”
As is par the course for the NC State men’s club hockey team, it unleashed a flurry of shots and offensive pressure in the opening frame on the Richmond Spiders, scoring six times in the first period alone.
The Icepack scored its first goal just under two minutes into the game as Todd cleaned up a rebound in front of Richmond’s net. The opportunity came as freshman Chris Soloman sprung senior Laythe Jadallah with a three-on-two rush. The Spider’s goaltender, Shea Henderson, made the initial save, but the Wolfpack’s offense pressure was too strong, as Todd was there for the second chance.
The Pack’s forecheck kept pressing and Robinson found NC State’s second goal of the game. Robinson let go a heavy wrister from just outside the slot that blasted past Henderson mere minutes later.
About a minute after that, senior Brendan Seppey took what seemed like a harmless wrister from the blueline after a faceoff win by freshman Matt Miller and it somehow made its way straight to the back of the net through not much traffic.
Robinson picked up his second of the night at around the 10-minute mark of the first period when, on the power play, he skated and dangled his way across the blueline, cut to the middle, and put a wrister on net, beating out Henderson stick-side.
The captain joined in the spectacle that was the first period for the Wolfpack, as Kinney picked up and deposited another rebound into the back of the net to extend the lead to 5-0.
This was a recurring event for Richmond as many times its defenders collapsed two or three men on a single NC State skater, leaving multiple skaters open and uncontested in front of the net as the Pack continued to dominant inside the Spider’s zone.
Freshman Parker Szarek added another to the Icepack’s rout in an effort that wouldn’t be denied. Shooting the puck off wide of the net and off the end boards, the puck managed to ricochet to the other side of the goal, right back to Szarek where he batted in the rebound as he was cutting past the front of the net.
The score read 6-0 in favor of the Pack at the end of one period, but there was still much more that NC State had left in store.
“Robo [Robinson] had a great game and the puck moving was really good,” said head coach Mike Gazzillo. “Another game where we really didn’t get to work on defensive zone stuff, but that’s not going to be the case next week. We cycled the puck, we moved the puck, we got it out to the D, you know we did a lot of good things. There’s not really much to say. The guys just worked and that’s really what we work on in practice and that’s what we have to do from week to week.”
Robinson completed his hat trick a little into the second period as he released an explosive wrister off his blade that beat Richmond’s replacement netminder Charlie Mosse top shelf.
Todd brought his tally to two, choosing to go top-shelf on the new netminder after finding himself all alone in the slot.
Szarek joined the multi-goal club as well, pushing the score to 9-0, as he cleaned up another rebound that was left perfectly for him in front of the net. The Spiders were leaving many opportunities for the Pack, but credit has to be given to the relentless nature of NC State’s forecheck.
Freshman Victor Hugo broke the double-digit barrier for the Wolfpack with 41.2 seconds left in the second period. After releasing a howitzer off the boards, Riley Johnson collected the puck and fed Hugo back on the blueline, who charged uncontested through the right circle and let go of a wrister which beat Mosse.
NC State wasn’t satisfied with ending the period on that score however as they moved the number to 11-0. 20 seconds later as Chris Solomon’s harmless-looking shot somehow trickled through the netminder and across the goal line.
The third period saw the Wolfpack’s momentum slowed as the game was already far out of reach, but it still managed to still pop goals in. Sophomore Alex Fong squeezed one past Mosse short-side as he skated past the net off of the rush.
The second hat trick of the night was capped off by Todd who snapped one past Mosse from the circle to move the score to 13-0.
Only mere seconds later, Jadallah popped one in off the opening faceoff win by the Pack, storming down into the Richmond zone to add yet another tally to the constantly running score.
Sophomore Riley Johnson sprung a two-on-one rush pulling both the defender and the goalie towards him as he managed to lace the pass-through to junior Devin Halko, who made no mistake putting it into the open goal.
While it looked like the game was going to end there 15-0, with only nine seconds remaining in the hockey game, Kinney picked up another rebound and his second of the game to instead finish the game with a final score of 16-0.
These first few games can be considered more of a warm-up for the talent-laden NC State men’s hockey team as these opponents are local ones that they have easily proven themselves against already. However, the Packs true test is coming up in its next few games as it will take part in the Liberty Showcase.
“We’re definitely going to be going a lot harder in practice now,” Robinson said. “This game helped us get into the flow a little better. Tough week at practice. We know we have three tough games. Big rematch against Liberty. They are going to be coming at us hard, but we got to bring our all and I think we’ll come out with a few dubs.”
The Wolfpack will first take on MSU-Denver Friday, Oct. 11, followed by UMass-Lowell on Saturday, Oct. 12, and finally finishing off with the rematch against Liberty University, whom NC State beat to qualify for nationals last year, Sunday, Oct. 13.