NC State and UNC were awarded the opportunity to promote college hockey in the Triangle on North Carolina's biggest stage. PNC Arena hosted the "Backyard Brawl" as the two rivals put on show on Thursday night. A show it was, as close to 6,000 fans poured into the seats taking up an entire half section of the lower bowl of the arena.
After skating with the youth program of the Cape Fear Warriors, the Wolfpack took the ice. NC State had a rocky first period going down 1-0 from Aj Hamel's breakaway goal.
Bound and determined to get back in the game, the #IcePack got on the board after a power play goal from Banasiewicz. The game would be tied with about three minutes left in the game, when Banasiewicz received a chip pass from Kokkelenberg. Banasiewicz drove wide to the net and was barely able to fire a shot off, but it went in taking a 2-1 lead. The 3,500-4,000 fans Wolfpack fans sitting in the middle priority section of PNC Arena immediately stood up screaming.
Fresh from the excitement of the go-ahead goal, MacDonald pounced on a 2-1 odd man rush and fired a laser beam of a shot over the glove of the UNC goaltender to make it 3-1. The game would end minutes later in a Wolfpack victory.
In the eyes of both teams and the big picture, the "Backyard Brawl" was an extreme success. A crowd exceeding our expectation and college hockey was promoted to the Triangle area.
NC State and UNC look to partner again next year in order to make this an annual event.