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Icepack senior forward Alex Robinson dekes the puck during the game against University of Mary on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022 at Wake Competition Center. The Icepack lost to the Maurauders 4-0.

The second annual battle for the “Old Wagon Wheel Trophy” was just out of reach for the Icepack as it lost in overtime to the Liberty Flames on Saturday, Nov. 12 at Invisalign Arena.

Game one of the two-game series took place in Lynchburg, Virginia at the Lahaye Ice Center. What looked to be a low-scoring affair through the first two periods turned into an offensive onslaught by both teams in the third as the two teams combined for six goals to close out the game.

Senior forward Alex Robinson and sophomore forward Zack Robinson led the comeback effort in the third, which ultimately came up just short as Liberty always had an answer of its own.

After losing a close one in regulation 5-4 on the road, the Icepack returned home for game two of the series.

Prior to the game, the Icepack hosted the Raleigh Testicular Cancer Foundation to bring attention to men’s health and to raise awareness about testicular cancer in the Raleigh community. The Icepack wore special warm up jerseys that will be auctioned off throughout the month of November to support the cause.

The first period was a promising start for the Icepack, with Robinson scoring his second goal of the series off a turnover in the Liberty zone. He went high on the glove side of Flames goaltender Lane Skon to tie the game up at 1 with 7:52 left in the first.

Robinson’s goal amounted to the Icepack’s lone score of the night. In overtime, Liberty forward Thomas Kayner netted the game-winning goal with a low backhanded shot that slipped by sophomore goaltender Isaac Tawyer for the win.

The Icepack’s inability to close out close games has been plaguing it all season, an issue that was on full display Saturday night.

“It's just frustrating,” said head coach Tim Healy. “We've lost so many of these games by a goal and I just feel for the guys in that locker room. I thought tonight, especially with the push we made in the second and third, that this is gonna be the night that the tide was going to turn on these one-goal games.”

Regardless of the final score, the Icepack played a pretty solid game. Tawyer ended the night with 31 saves, making incredible plays all night to keep the Icepack in a close game. The defense was solid as well, closing down the Flames’ shooting lanes, making them take difficult shots and limiting their offensive scoring chances.

“A lot of positives tonight,” Healy said. “That's the No. 2 ranked team in the [ACHA] southeast division. It was a great weekend of hockey. Both games were great battles. The people watching got to see why I think it's a great rivalry; it's fierce, it's tight, and they come out to play…. We hit a couple posts, but the guys just have to keep working to hopefully get these games turning our way soon enough.”

The Icepack dropped to 5-9-1 on the season but will look to get on track next weekend with a two-game homestand versus the Cincinnati Bearcats. The first game is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 18 with an 8:15 p.m. puck drop.

Correspondent

My name is Joey Biacone, a senior from Mooresville, NC majoring in meteorology. I mostly write about the NC State Icepack hockey team, as I serve as their play by play commentator on PackTV. I joined TechSports in the summer of 2022.