After the Backyard Brawl came down to the final seconds of the game with one of the most highly contested matches of the season with the Chapel Hill Tar Heels, NC State Hockey will head into the month and a half long Christmas break on a 3 game win streak 8-4 (5-1 ACC), and prepare to take on Stephen Bryson and the top tier Delaware Blue Hens when they return in January.
"That's certainly something [The Delaware matchup] we talked about before we broke for break..." said Coach Gazzillo, who recently sat down with PackTV for an episode of Over the Boards. "They've always been a good club, they've always been deep... and t he guys know, there's a lot at stake."
Following strong showings all season from team leaders in Sam Banasiewicz, Luis Giminez, Cam Mazikowski, and even a late surge from depth players such as Eric Webb, the Pack will need to maintain their momentum heading into the season defining month of January. In the past 2 seasons, State has been strong in the month, going a solid 5-2-0-1. But after State got handed a 5-3 loss from the University of Virginia, Joey Hall’s resurgence should be able to provide the team more leeway to focus on offense and improve the post holiday break record.
"[Hall] is a good goaltender... he's the heart of the game. The more shots, the more he's dialed in," Coach Gazzillo told PackTV. "We expect a big second semester out of him, and we expect a big senior year out of him."
The Icepack will need to shake off all the extra holiday desserts to get ready to take on Non Divisional Opponent Delaware (12-7), UNC-Charlotte (9-4-1), Clemson (3-8), and Chapel Hill (4-8-1) when they return, before preparing to pack the bus and head to the ACCHL tournament, in which a three game weekend will be played February 16th-18th.
(All stats provided by Team Twitter and achahockey.org)