Pack open ACCHL tournament against the Dukes
How to watch: 4:30PM on PackTV’s YouTube livestream, with Ethan Barry and Zak Selwaeh having the call and pregame starting at 4:15. Live watch party at the Talley Student Union Pavilion on NC State’s main campus.
The moment that all Icepack players and fans have been waiting for: The ACCHL tournament. It’s finally here, and the Red and White from State will face off against James Madison at 4:30PM for the first game. The Icepack is looking to regain the ACCHL cup, and James Madison will be fighting for their first ever.
The Scoop on State
The Icepack have had a revolutionary season. After an abysmal record last season due to injury, a majority healthy roster has led the team to a 14-6 record, good enough to sit in the 3rd seed in the very difficult ACC division. Adversity has been no stranger to the Icepack, having to be without their dominant duo in Sam Banasiewicz and Luis Giminez more often than not, and without Ryan Kinney and Will Biberdorf, who was out the first half of the season. But State enters the tournament on a 4 game winning streak, completely reversing their bad 3rd period luck that came to be in the tumultuous road trip against Charlotte and Clemson. ACC Rookie of the year Cam Mazikowski said it best, “We learned that we need to start showing up for games.” Boy, has Cam showed up, along with the rest of the Icepack. The defenseman finished off the season with 19 points in 18 games played. State has been one of the hardest working teams all season, and deserve a spot in this tournament. With the under the radar tools that we have seen all season from Gazzillo and crew, and the ever so dominant top 6 forwards, expect State to truly put their best foot forward and start the tournament right off for their seniors.
The Scoop on the Dukes
James Madison is a team State hasn’t seen this season, and have secured the 6th seed in the ACCHL after a crushing 7-2 loss against Wake Forest last Saturday night. The Dukes didn’t play too much this season, only hitting the Ice 11 times in the regular season. That lack of experience didn’t play too much impact on the Dukes earlier in the season, as they toppled over the reigning champions in UVA by a score of 6-5. Most recently, they’ve hit a bit of a skid, only going 1-3 in the past 4, with those 3 losses being against UVA, Virginia Tech, and of course, Wake Forest. This is James Madison’s opportunity to win it all, and expect the effort to match the mentality of the players going in.
As always, this lineup is scheduled to change at game time:
Sam Banasiewicz (C) Eric Todd Luis Gimenez (C)
Tyler Alfonzetti Will Biberdorf Trevor Merchant
Andrew Kristof Ryan Lenzmeier Hayden Dewey
Eric Johnston Matt Costigan Eric Schwartz
Ellis Rushford Ian O'Rourke
Cam Mazikowski Chris Wing
Davis Hudson Jon Kokkelenberg
Healthy Scratches: Alex Vedetta, Eric Mura, Ian Hutchison, Will Trolle, Jack MacDonald
Keep an Eye on:
JMU: Thomas Harris. Being the ACC player of the week back in December, Harris is a real good goaltender. The Icepack have played some terrific games this season, really working on their slot presence and getting tips in the dirty areas. But one consistent problem the Pack has seen is the ability of these goaltenders in the ACC to stand on their heads. Expect Harris to lead his team against NC State and eliminate any chance for any capitalization.
State: Sam Banasiewicz. It’s a name you all have heard a lot. But Banasiewicz is a guy who can take the helm of this team and really sauce it up with his counterpart in the Dynamic Duo. Sam has 8 goals in his past 5 games, and has several assists in that time frame as well, coming off of his goalless streak. The captain is known to be clutch when he needs to be, and State wants this tournament. Bad. Expect the Captain to be Mr. Clutch and get the Pack to the second game of the weekend.