The NC State club hockey team defeated UNC-Chapel Hill 5-0 Wednesday night in PNC Arena.
NC State usually plays its games at Raleigh Iceplex, so it’s a special treat when the Pack gets to play in PNC Arena.
“It’s a lot of fun,” NC State captain senior Sam Banasiewicz said. “I grew up in north Raleigh, so I’ve always been a big Carolina Hurricanes fan my whole life. Just getting to play on the same ice as them, with all these fans. Iceplex hits about a thousand, absolute max, and to see seven or eight thousand out here and to hear the roar of the fans whenever a goal goes in or a fight happens it's a really cool feeling. Especially when you beat Carolina it’s a really good day.”
The score sheet was diversified with goals by five different Pack skaters, and assists by eight different skaters.
The game was also highlighted by the slew of penalties assessed to each team. NC State took seven penalties while UNC took 13, two of which the Wolfpack capitalized on. Many of the penalties were offsetting or retaliatory resulting in a lot of 4 on 4 ice-time. The game also saw two players ejected in the third period.
Senior goalie Joey Hall recorded a shutout in the decisive rivalry match, thanks to key shorthanded and breakaway saves as well as sacrificing saves made by his teammates.
“It’s huge. That’s the way of the game, blocked shots win championships,” Hall said, “I’m so thankful I’ve got a team that’s willing to put their butts on the line for me, that in turn motivates me to make those big saves for them.”
The first period opened up with a scary collision in the first minute of the game. UNC defender Jake Weiland needed medical attention after being knocked to the ice; NC State’s Laythe Jadallah ran into him after Weiland fell attempting to block a shot. He managed to stand on his own power and skated back to the bench after a suspenseful few minutes.
NC State started the game dominating the Tar Heels as they spent the majority of the period in the UNC zone. The Wolfpack broke the ice, getting the initial goal seven minutes into the game by junior Matt Costigan. Costigan received a cross-crease pass from sophomore Eric Todd, and after nearly losing the puck off his blade, regained control and shot it into the open net.
“I don’t score much. That was my second goal of this year,” Costigan said. “That was a big booster for me. We’re really happy when we can get all four lines chipping in. Obviously, when the fourth lines producing it’s a good sign for the depth of the team.”
The second period would see the floodgates open for the Wolfpack offense. A clever pass off the faceoff by Jadallah led to an impressive snipe by Banasiewicz, putting the team up two goals to none. Banasiewicz saw his spot all day and ripped a wrister into the top corner, beating the glove of UNC goaltender Gabe Harousseau.
The Pack was not done with scoring for the second period because of a beautiful finish by freshman Riley Johnson who picked up the rebound off a point shot by sophomore Devin Halko that dropped dead off of the crest of UNC’s netminder. This goal extended NC State’s lead to 3-0.
The Pack wasted no time continuing its stellar performance into the third period. A carry-over power play from late in the second set the stage for the Pack’s fourth goal. The power-play goal was scored by sophomore Nikita Anistratov, assisted by Banasiewicz and Jadallah. Anistratov picked up the puck off of a pokecheck by UNC’s netminder that wound up right on his blade and he wasted no time beating Harousseau between his glove and pad for a 4-0 lead.
Tempers boiled over in the final period as well, as a skirmish between the two rivals resulted in the ejection of both NC State’s Costigan and UNC senior Kyle Bullock.
“This one’s been pretty emotional all game,” Costigan said. “We obviously don’t like each other too much. Big rivalry. And I saw my linemate Alex Vedetta getting a little beat up so I thought I would have something to do about it.”
The Pack did manage to score again before it was all over, as sophomore Cam Mazikowski scored on a power play off of a UNC interference penalty. Mazikowski’s goal would be the final one, resulting in a final score of 5-0 for NC State over UNC.
NC State will travel to UNC-Charlotte for its next matchup this Saturday at 10:00 p.m.