The NC State club hockey team recently returned from Bismarck, North Dakota, where it competed in the ACHA D2 National Championship, securing wins against No. 9 University of Providence and No. 16 Davenport University, but eventually falling to the No. 1 ranked University of Mary.
The Icepack (12-7-1) had high hopes entering this year’s tournament, but its dreams were cut short after a hard-fought game against Marauders which blocked NC State from reaching the final four.
Game 1 vs No. 9 University of Providence
It was a quick start for the Icepack, which scored three times in the first period and allowed only one goal from the Argos to bring the score to 3-1.
The score was deadlocked until halfway through the second period, but just nine seconds into a power play after sophomore Victor Hugo’s hooking minor, the Argos came up big, scoring again and cutting NC State's lead to 3-2. Shortly after, sophomore Chris Solomon responded for the Icepack, finding the back of the net to give the Wolfpack back its two-goal lead.
The Argos cut into the lead again in the third, making the score 4-3, but a goal from junior Riley Johnson and the third of the game from Solomon secured the 6-4 Icepack victory and the Solomon hat trick.
Game 2 vs No. 16 Davenport University
With only one goal in the first period, courtesy of senior Devin Halko, it was a slower start to the second game of the tournament for the Icepack. A five-minute major was awarded to NC State towards the end of the first, but shortly after killing it off, Davenport tied the game at one.
It was back and forth throughout the rest of the game, and every time the Icepack would take the lead, Davenport would respond shortly thereafter. Just seconds after freshman Ricky Frosch gave the Icepack a 2-1 lead, the Panthers tied it again, and though NC State ended the second period up 3-2 thanks to Johnson, Davenport tied the game again halfway through the third.
Goals from Solomon and junior Colby Pederson eventually won the matchup for the Icepack, Solomon’s goal for the lead with just 1:25 left, and Pederson’s adding some insurance, raising the score to 5-3.
Despite allowing three goals, sophomore Griffin Hunt walked away with player of the game honors with 35 total saves in an action-packed day.
Game 3 vs No. 1 University of Mary
Unfortunately, it was the highly anticipated matchup against the University of Mary that sent the Icepack back to Raleigh.
University of Mary struck first halfway through the first period on the power play and added to its lead, making it 2-0 shortly after. Despite a couple of upper-hand opportunities throughout the first, the Icepack was unable to connect, entering the second period down two.
The Marauders increased the lead again to 3-0 before the Icepack finally made it on the score sheet cutting into the lead with one goal. UMary responded quickly though, getting its three-goal lead back just seconds after killing an Icepack power play.
A five-minute major and game misconduct towards the end of the second period against the Marauders seemed like the perfect opportunity the Icepack had been looking for all game, but it was unable to produce anything, and