The NC State men’s club ice hockey team lost 3-2 in a closely contested match against Wake Forest University Sat. 29, in the second day of the ACHA Men’s D2 Regionals in Lawrenceville, New Jersey to bring its season to a close.
After having faced off against the Deacons three times prior, including in the ACCHL championship game, Wake Forest proved to not let history keep repeating as an all-around team effort helped propel the team to the final round of regional play.
Wake Forest capitalized on a few heavy traffic shots and made it difficult for NC State in transition as part of its strategy to slow down the high-powered Icepack offense.
At the onset, NC State picked up the initial goal as freshman Ricky Frosch joined the rush and knocked home a cross-crease pass. The Deacons netminder had knocked the net off the mooring as the shot was taken, but the referees ruled it inconsequential to the goal.
However, the Deacons found an equalizer only two minutes later with a wrister from the blueline. The goal came on a power play as sophomore Riley Johnson had been shown the gate on a questionable interference call.
Wake Forest pulled ahead later, a little past the halfway point of the first period, from a slapshot at the top of the circle straight off of a faceoff win.
This time though, NC State was the one with the quick response. Freshman Chris Solomon sniped home a rebound while cruising through the slot to bring the score tied at two.
The teams battled through the remainder of the first period and all the second period with neither team being able to pull away.
Then, Wake Forest grabbed the go-ahead goal, 6:09 into the third on another shot off of a faceoff win. Sophomore netminder Griffin Hunt was beat on three far off shots, but the chaos off the faceoffs contributed to the difficulty in seeing the shots that ended up in the second and third goals.
The Icepack panicked to get back into it, but despite an absolute pounding by NC State, the Deacons held tall as they managed to stave off the Pack and move into the final day of regionals.
Wake Forest paired off against the No. 3 University of Cincinnati; being shutout 4-0 to end the final ACCHL team left in the ACHA Men’s D2 Regionals chance to qualify for a national bid.