Postgame: Pack bring Seahawks to Bay

Giminez, Cannon halt UNCW's Win streak on Breast Cancer Night

Coming into this game, both teams knew that Wilmington was good. Entering the contest technically winning or tying all their games this season, no team has been able to beat the Seahawks (14-1-1-0) during the time where team play mattered. The only team that beat them past regulation time? The Icepack. They did it again tonight, but this time humbling the Seahawks in a 5-2 regulation rout at the Iceplex.

The Icepack (12-6, 7-2 ACC) knew their recent games had bad flat starts, and Coach Gazzillo and crew had to fix it. They most certainly did tonight, as the dominant duo of Sam Banasiewicz and Luis Giminez struck quickly with a beautiful pass from behind the net to the doorstep, only a minute and three seconds into the game. State then proceeded to kill off a 5 minute penalty that Eric Webb served, one of the 3 successful penalty kills for the night.

“It’s working on it in practice, and talking about it a little before the game…” said Coach Gazzillo about going 3/3 on the penalty kill tonight. “Tim [Healy] has been doing well with his combinations… the guys talk about it when they get back to the bench… killing off a 5 minute and a 4 minute penalty was big for us.”

Trevor Merchant found the success from that kill and struck again from a beautiful pass from Ryan Kinney, who had 2 goals last night against Duke. This was Merchant’s first since January 19th in Charlotte. After the goal was scored, the rest of the first period was back and forth for a long period of time.

Then the floodgates opened.

All it took was 13 seconds for Sam Banasiewicz to collect the puck and make a cross ice pass to Luis Giminez, who found the back of the net. This was one of the quickest starts for the duo all season, and that sparked the rest of the team as well, as Ryan Lenzmeier etched his name on the scoresheet off passes from Matt Costigan and Ellis Rushford. Sam found the back of the net again, off a pass from Luis Giminez to make the lead 5-0. Man, we say those names a lot, don’t we?

“They’re almost always on the scoreboard,” said goaltender Josh Cannon, who was PackTV’s player of the game. “You always hear about Sam, Luis, and Eric Todd, but it’s all the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th line guys who are grinding it out… they’re always putting the effort in.”

After UNCW struck twice in the second period, much of the third period was back and forth, with State edging the Seahawks in total effort. “They just didn’t play with as much intensity as they did earlier,” added Coach Gazzillo, talking about the third period.

Josh Cannon stood on his head tonight, stopping well over 30 shots, as both the backup goaltenders secured 2 important wins this weekend for the Icepack.

“I just had to keep calm and confident…” said Cannon, who recorded his second win of the season tonight. “I just had to go out there and do what I needed to do.” Coach Gazzillo added “Thought he played really great. Tracked the puck well and made some really key saves.”

The Icepack now have a week to rest before taking on an unusual foe in West Virginia in a double header at the Raleigh Iceplex next weekend. For all updates about the Icepack and ACCHL standings, be sure to follow @NCStateHockey on twitter, along with @icepackgameday.

Notes: Banasiewicz and Giminez continue point streaks to 5 and 6 games, respectively… the Icepack has started all 3 goaltenders this past week… State will finish with the 3rd seed in the ACCHL tournament standings...

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